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The Small Game Edition

Airgun Pest
Airgunniung DVDs
Control Report A review of what’s
Spring Hog
Hunt with a This Month!
9mm air-pistol! • Crossman 2240
hunting pistol
• Pest birds and
Five hunting •Raccoon control
trips that
won’t break
the bank!

Urban Hunting Rifle

the take-down Hunting Master AR 6
Pistol/Carbine Conversion from Evanix
June 2007
Dennis Quackenbush Airguns

.308, .457, and .50 Caliber Rifles

Dennis Quackenbush Airguns are the choice of

big game hunters that want the best in a powerful
big bore PCP design. From Bison, whitetail deer
and feral hog in North America to Impala and
Kudu in South Africa, these guns have done it
Pest birds and Airguns Jim Chapman
Farmyard Pest Control Robert
Airgun Hunting South Africa Andrew Hamilton
Career 707 Western
Mission: Raccoon Pest Control Jim Stephan Boles
Jackrabbit Hunting with big bores
Texas Spring hog hunt Randy Stephan Boles

Backdoor “go-to” guns Matt Sasso

Crossman 2240 Jim Chapman

Urban Hunters: the AR6 TD and B-57

Sparrows in China… I think.

Jim Chapman

Reflections on the Growth of Our

Sport Dennis Quackenbush


•Editors Corner
•Mailbox: Letters
•Hunting Regs
•Airgun Literature and Videos
•Photo Gallery

Jim Eric Randy

Chapman Henderson Mitchell

Dennis Andrew Stephan

Quackenbush Myers Boles

Robert Matt
Hamilton Sasso
Editors Corner
I’ve been hunting with airguns for over three
decades, and have noted with satisfaction
that our sport has been gaining visibility in
mainstream hunting circles of late. As an
Editor for Predator Xtreme Magazine, I get
a lot of email and letters from current
airgunners, as well as traditional firearms
hunters that have only recently learned of
these unique hunting arms. I’m often asked
if there are any dedicated magazines
available for the enthusiasts, and I have to
answer no. Predator Xtreme has been one
of the most progressive publications in
offering a regular airgun hunting column,
but several of us thought a hunting journal
focused specifically on AG Hunting would
be desirable.
One of the great things with this sport is all of the quality people you meet along
the way! I’ve asked a few friends and airgunning authorities I’ve had the pleasure
to meet or correspond with to join me in producing this inaugural issue of Airgun
Hunting, which is being released as an online quarterly journal. It will be
supported entirely by advertising and made available free of charge to airgunners
everywhere, which is a marked difference from other attempted magazine
launches in the past. This E-magazine, can be freely downloaded from several
airgunning websites. Any money required to make this effort fly will come solely
from advertising, which will be reasonably priced so even the little guys and those
just starting out can get space to show us what they’re offering.

I hope that we have succeeded in putting together a publication that serves to

promote the sport, enrich the experience for our fellow airgunners, and fill a void
that has existed for too long. Welcome!

Jim Chapman kicks off this issue with a discussion of our

objectives for this and upcoming editions
Contributors Welcomed

Like to Contribute? We are on the

look out for hunting articles and gun
reviews from around the world.
Stories of an interesting hunting trip, a
review of your favorite hunting gun,
and helpful field tips are all welcome. I
am especially interested in
submissions from airgunners in
Europe, South America, Asia, and our
friends down under!

Not sure of your English / writing

skills? Send us your best effort and
we’ll help you edit it into shape.

Articles should be 1-3 pages with 3-4

accompanying photographs. Reviews
and hints can be shorter. We also
accept pictures of your bag after a day
afield, and appreciate pictures of you
and your buddies hunting as much as
kill/gun shots.

A word on legal quarry and gear: this

online journal is geared toward airgun
hunters around the world. We are
governed by many laws and
conventions on what is legal, ethical,
or acceptable. Please make sure that
anything you write about is legal in
your state, territory, or country.

Jim Chapman
The Mailbox
Q Hello, I was wondering in your A This is not a bad idea, I brought
testing if you have found a better choice for my Beeman C1 on the stand this year, after
air-shotgunning than the Gamo Viper noticing an army of squirrels in the area on
express, and where I can buy one. My farm previous hunts. One morning I shot four
is overrun with cowbirds, and even the bushytails, and not more than a half hour
Missouri Conservation Dept. says they are later watched a small herd of does
becoming a 'pest' because they lay an egg meandered under me. I think just about any
in the nest of a host songbird, which then mid powered springer will do the trick. A
grows faster than the other birds, and kicks more compact gun like a C1 or Stingray is a
them out of the nest. They are beginning to good choice as they are easy to pack along.
actually cut into the songbird populations!
Thank you very much, Doug

A Doug, the Viper is interesting in that

Q I have read a couple articles you’ve
written on the Dragonslayer .50 caliber
it is the first, and I believe only, spring piston airgun. Would this be a good big game
powered shotgun. The power is limited and
this gun is useful for small pest inside of airgun? Thanks, Tom
thirty feet. There have been a couple CO2
powered shotguns that had more power and
more range, but these guns by Farco and
Crossman are no longer in production.
A Tom, I really like the Dragonslayer

Dennis Quackenbush is building a prototype for its accuracy, style, and shootability. I
PCP shotgun that we’re eagerly waiting for. think it’s the perfect gun for medium sized
game and predators, but have to say that it
is probably underpowered for big game. I

Q Jim, I learned about your website in have killed a couple large boar with it,
however it was marginal. Having said this,
Outdoor Life Mag p.12 and am interested in I’ve noted with interest lately that there are a
using an air gun for squirrels while waiting few airgun do-it-yourselfers that are modding
for deer in my deer stand while bow hunting the gun and realizing some pretty substantial
because the small amount of noise would gains in velocity. I f somebody finally gets
not adversely affect deer like my .22 rifle has this gun up to a couple hundred FPS, I may
in the past. I shot a squirrel once with my change my opinion! But for now, I’d say yes
.22 rifle, and the sound of it firing sent a for coyotes and no for the big hogs.
decent sized buck that was within 100 feet
of my bow deer stand running. Can you Jim
recommend a quiet rig for the stand?
Pest Birds and Airguns
Airguns are the perfect method to reduce can be devastating to native species of
populations of pest birds, which consist of songbirds, they have wiped out local
English sparrows, starlings, and pigeons in just populations of purple martins in some areas.
about all North American venues. Why are There are other birds that become pest under
these birds considered pest? There are various certain situations, such as crows and grackles
reasons; they get into feeders and can consume that are damaging crops or ornamental shrubs.
a surprising quantity of feed when numbers are
high, they can foul an area badly with their Shooting pest birds is a great way to keep in
droppings creating a health risk, but in my hunting trim, and you can find a place to shoot
opinion the biggest problem is that they don’t no matter where you live. I like a .177 as this
belong here. They are classified as non- caliber is typically flat shooting and can deliver
indigenous species, which means that they are pinpoint accuracy without needing to worry too
not native to our shores. The reason this is much about holdover. And it does not take a lot
problematic is that when a non native species is of power or a real large wound channel to
present, especially in large numbers such as effectively reach out and kill winged pest at 35
these three particular eamples are frequently or 40 yards. Check your local regulations and
found, they compete against native species for codes to make sure your city or county doesn’t
food and nesting sites. Starlings are very have restrictions that supersede state laws.
aggressive and
Choosing a Caliber
Currently there are four calibers available in Airgun hunters often quote the old adage “.177 for
production airguns; the venerable .177. the feather and .22 for fur”. However, it is really not so
.20, .22, and .25. The caliber selected is simple and depends on the distances that will be
dependent on what the intended use is, hunted over, type of powerplant used, the style of
and what gun it will be shot out of. I tend to pellet, as well as the quarry. The conventional
like smaller calibers such as the .177 and wisdom is that the .177 has a flatter trajectory but
.20 out of spring piston airguns, and the lacks knock down power while the .22 has a more
larger .22 and .25 with precharged arced trajectory yet offers better terminal
pneumatics. I must add though, there are performance. There is in fact a lot of truth to these
exceptions to this rule. long held beliefs, but it is not the whole story.
A.177 spring piston gun will yield a higher velocity
the right caliber depends on than the same gun chambered in .22. For
what you’re going to hunt example, if a .177 Beeman R1 was generating
and what type of gun will be 900 fps with a 7 grain pellet, that same power
plant chambered for .22 would be propelling a 17
used. grain pellet at 775 fps. The energy generated by
The .177 and .22 calibers are by far the the .177 would be 12 fpe while the .22 would be
most widely available and therefore 22
commonly used. I’ve often time been
asked if I preferred .177 or .22 in a hunting
rifle. As with conventional firearms, the Muskrat and .177
right caliber depends on what you’re going Last year I was asked by a friend to thin out a
to hunt and what type of gun will be used. couple of the muskrats that were undermining
Where it differs is that regardless of the banks of his stock pond. I got out on site
application, there are only four caliber early one morning, and using a .177 JSB exact
choices when it comes to production
in a Gamo CFX, dropped him at 35 yards with a
airguns. The .20 and .25 are the least
single headshot. He was anchored, not even
common calibers; the selection of pellets is
making it back to the water a couple feet away.
more limited and they can be difficult to
find. Also there are not as many guns
chambered for these calibers, which makes
them a less practical option for the casual
shooter. By far and away the most common
calibers are the .177 and .22. In addition to
the wide selection and availability of pellets,
there is a virtually limitless range of guns
built for these chamberings. I use all four
calibers, but for the purpose of this
discussion I’ll limit the scope of my
response to how the .177 and .22 stack up
for hunting.
fpe, so in addition to the larger pellet opening Another factor to consider is the type of
a larger wound channel it would transfer more pellets being used. Both the .177 and the .22
energy on target. The larger cross sectional can be had in a variety of weights and
area and greater mass of the .22 would also configurations; including pointed, wadcutter,
result in more energy being retained as the hollowpoint, and roundnose styles. But this
pellet traveled along its flight path. But there topic covers a lot of ground and will be
is another factor to consider; the trajectory of revisited in a future column.
the .22 would exhibit substantially more drop I believe that both .177 and .22 are viable
at fifty yards than the .177. Gravity acts hunting calibers for most small game
equally on objects regardless of mass, so providing the guns being used are accurate
there will be a more pronounced drop in the and the hunter selects proper shot
point of impact with the lower velocity pellet placement. I have taken countless squirrels,
because it is in flight longer, and gravity has rabbits, pigeons, prairie dogs and similar
more time to exert its influence. sized quarry with both of these calibers,
usually opting for a head shot. My personal
I tend to like the .177 and .20 preference is to use .177 for spring piston
out of spring piston airguns, guns as I am willing to give up some power
to obtain a flatter trajectory. However, when
and.22 and .25 with PCPs. I
using a PCP my preference is for the harder
must add though, there are hitting .22, as both power and flat shooting
exceptions to this rule. characteristics are achieved. I believe that
more power delivered on target is better so
So based on these statements we would long as accuracy is not compromised;
have to agree that the .22 is more powerful therefore my adage is “.177 for springers
and the .177 is a flatter shooting caliber. This and .22 for PCPs”.
is true with spring piston rifles as they are not
able to generate the power required to propel
the .22 at the same high velocity as when
chambered for .177. But if the powerplant
being used is a precharged pneumatic, the
story is somewhat different. A PCP
chambered for .177 that is shooting at 900
fps can, with a tuned valve and heavier
hammer spring, generate 900 fps with the .22
as well. In this scenario the trajectory will be
the same with both calibers. As a matter of
fact the heavier pellet will shed velocity less
rapidly and retain more energy as it travels
away from the muzzle. This advantage
cannot be offset by increasing the muzzle
velocity of the .177, as at a little over 1000 fps
the smaller .177 pellet becomes
aerodynamically unstable. For this reason, it Jim Chapman
is often said that PCP air arms are more
efficient with larger calibers.
Airgun Hunting South Africa
Andrew Myers, Professional Hunter

I’ve been hunting with airguns for quite a few

years now. Growing up in South Africa I had the
chance to hunt many different types of game.
Many of the men in my family hunted, so I had a
lot of excellent opportunities. It came to mean
quite a lot to me, along with fishing and other
outdoor pursuits.

After school I did what a lot of us do, packed my

bags and headed off to work in the UK for a while.
That was an interesting experience, but what I
really started to miss was hunting. I don’t know if
you know it, but getting a gun and finding a place
to hunt, is not easy to accomplish in the UK. I
found out about airguns and the fact that I could
hunt rabbits and rock doves with it. After looking
around at the variety of airguns manufactured
there, I settled on a BSA Superten. It was a 12fpe
gun when I bought it, but I bumped it up to around
30 when I got back home.

When I got home I started hunting with firearms

again, and as a matter of fact did my courses and
took the exams to become a professional hunter.
The hunting business is competitive over here,
and my friend and business associate Rob Dell
and I were looking for ways to differentiate
ourselves. We thought having hunters bring a
standard small bore airgun for small game hunting
after the big game outings would be a selling

About four years ago I met Jim Chapman, and we started talking about setting up a hunt. A
couple discussions had passed before it dawned on me he wanted to use an airgun for large
game as well as the small stuff! I have to admit, I had never in my life heard about guns like he
was talking about. But he sent me literature, had me go to the Quackenbush Airguns website,
and we continued to kick the idea around. Once Rob and I were convinced this would be an
effective and ethical way of hunting we approached the authorities. We presented the facts
we’d compiled and were granted permission to do an evaluation test with Jim, and that led to
our first airgunning safari. We had members of the Biodiversity Committee and the Eastern
Cape Game Management Association come out and inspect the animals we shot, as a matter
of fact they shot the DAQ guns and were quite impressed, I can tell you!
Based on this experience, the following year
we received permission to expand the hunt.
On this trip Randy Mitchell and Eric
Henderson came out with Jim, we had a
tremendous hunt and a lot of fun with the

We have all been impressed with the airgun

hunts, we lead safaris for firearms, muzzle
loaders and archery, and these are some of spending a day shooting varmint or small
the most challenging hunts we do. These game. Jim, Rob and I spent a break one day
guys have to really work in the field to take shooting pigeons that were coming down at
their game, and these are some of our the feeders, and were having so much fun
favorite hunts to lead. So far we’ve taken we almost didn’t make it out for the
springbok, impala, bushbuck, kudu, duiker, afternoon hunt.
steenbok, warthogs, and have seen that
these guns consistently produce clean kills. In future articles this is what I want to write
I’ve had to take a turn with these guns myself, about; the great experiences we have
shooting a warthog on the last trip. hunting small game species with airguns.
We are able to hunt brush hare, springhare,
But besides the firearms hunts with hyrax, mongoose, vervet, waterfowl, Guinea
centerfires and airguns, I continued to enjoy fowl, many types of pigeons, crows, ravens
hunting small game with my small bore and many others. I think this is one of the
airguns. Even with all of the opportunity to most enjoyable aspects of airgunning.
hunt we have, there is something great about
Mission: Raccoon Pest Control
Jim Chapman

I was recently asked by a friend if I could As daybreak was now on the way, I decided
help him thin out the pest species on his to head down by the stream where a strip of
small farm property just outside of town. An woods about a hundred yards wide separated
out of control population of raccoons was two corn fields. Finding a place to sit where I
starting to cause substantial damage on the was partially hidden by a fallen tree limb, I
property, tearing into a couple of the out- waited about ten minutes and started blowing
buildings and invading the poultry yard. After a baby squirrel distress call. Nothing
a few weeks of night time raids these coons happened, so I waited a few minutes then
had depopulated their hen house pretty repeated the call. This time there was a
completely. My friend wanted the raccoons response; a very large raccoon was making a
to go away and it was agreed I’d make a trip beeline for me. Stepping over a fallen log he
out to take a look around. paused for a moment, giving me the opening
Arriving onsite before daylight very early one to make a shot that knocked him off his feet. I
morning. I spotted a big possum moving find that raccoons will often come in on call,
across the road about thirty yards ahead as I and have had particular success with the
started up his drive. The mutant rat stopped baby squirrel and woodpecker distress calls.
about twenty yards into the woods. The
shrouded barrel on my gun reduced the A heavy weight roundnosed pellet
report to a whisper, and the sound of the will provide good penetration and
pellet slamming home was louder than the
shot. Parking the car I looked around and knock down power on these large
found a likely place to set up. Hunkered AG Quarry
down with my back to a tree about forty
yards from the hen house I sat in wait. After Raccoons approaching a call are not overly
about a half hour I caught the outline of a cautious, and it has been my experience that
small coon on his way to a chicken and egg they usually move straight in. One of the
dinner, barely visible in the dim light of the advantages of these evening/early morning
approaching dawn. Leaving the light off but shoots is that you never know what you’ll
switching on the illuminated reticule I was come across; any time you’re in raccoon
able to make out the silhouette of the territory there is a reasonably good chance a
raccoons head, and the glowing crosshairs possum, skunk, fox or coyote might put in an
allowed me to center my shot. Squeezing appearance. All but the coyote are fair game
the trigger I heard the thud of the pellet with the .22 and .25 caliber guns I favor for
hitting home followed by a momentary mid sized quarry. These guns are capable of
thrashing, then silence. I sat a while longer killing a coyote, but in my opinion they are not
to see if any of his kin would follow him out, powerful enough to ensure a clean kill. The
but there was no further activity. .308 and .50 caliber airguns for coyote are
another story, but we’ll visit that subject at a
later date.
The airguns I use for taking these mid sized
animals are all hard hitting and accurate. I
have killed many raccoons and possums
with .22 caliber guns, but have a preference
for the mid bore .25 caliber in a precharged
pneumatic air rifle. They provide a bit more
reach, and if a head shot isn’t possible
requiring the body to be targeted, the larger
caliber is more effective. A .27 grain 25
caliber pellet traveling at 900 fps generates
about 50 fpe which will anchor a raccoon on
the spot even with a body shot. As most
raccoon hunting takes place in low light
conditions, a scope with good light
transmission characteristics is a must.

Lately I’ve been using a scope with an

illuminated reticle, as it helps in picking
up the target when there is low ambient
lighting. I also like to use a tactical
flashlight with a pressure sensitive switch
mounted on the gun, as it provides
optimal mobility.
Conventional high powered airguns offer
a practical means of controlling mid sized
pest species such as raccoon, possum,
and everything up to fox. Keep the range
to around fifty yards; use a heavy round
nose pellet in .22 or .25, and take head
shots when possible. These guns are
fairly quiet, but if your rifle has a
shrouded barrel or integrated moderator
Raccoons are pretty tenacious all the better, you can use them in
populated areas without disturbing the
animals; a .22 or .25 caliber gun neighbors. As I frequently mention,
putting out 30 fpe or more with a adding an airgun to your hunting battery
will allow you to expand your hunting
well placed shot will do the trick opportunity while providing a means to
though rid your property of pest animals without
having to resort to poison or traps.
Texas Spring Hog Hunt
Randy Mitchell Randy and friends head
down to Texas following
For the last several years I’ve enjoyed hunting with a the Little Rock Airgun Show
bigbore airgun. There are numerous stories on my
website about different hunting trips and the results, to hunt feral hogs
but I must honestly say that this spring’s hog hunt at
Lone Star Hunts near Henrietta, TX, was one of the
most challenging yet. This is my second time After the show, Eric, Brian, Walter,
hunting there following the Little Rock Airgun Expo Mason, and myself headed towards
that is held at the end of April each year. Dallas to pick up Eric’s gear. After a
brief stop at his house to load his gear,
The Expo was fun, and visiting with your fellow we visited with his lovely wife Grace and
airgun enthusiasts that you’ve know for a few years, their beautiful little girl for a few minutes
as well as meeting new ones, is well worth the trip. I before heading out for a quick bite to
highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. It eat at a really good Italian restaurant.
will wet your appetite for more knowledge about We ate quickly, headed out, and only
airguns, and you will almost always find something stopped for the Texas Highway Patrol
new and interesting, as well as get a chance to heft who felt it important to remind me that
and fondle some of the classic airguns of yesteryear. my license plate lights were out. With a
nice warning and a friendly wish for
good luck hunting from the patrolman,
we continued on our way.
We had good intentions to get up before
dawn and be on the stands near the
feeders before the dawn. That simply
didn’t happen, and it was a good half-
hour or more after daylight before we
managed to get ourselves out of the
cabin and into Cody’s truck. Cody is the
guide for this hunting venue, and he
spends the whole day trying to scare up
some really spooky pigs for the hunters
who come hunting there.
This year, I had planned to hunt with a Sam
magnification greater than the lowest
Yang bigbore in .45 caliber. However, at the setting in this type of hunt setting. And I
airgun show I let the gun go to a young man
was using the 9mm Korean manufactured
who was very intent on getting into bigbore pellets in the gun, not the heavier pistol
hunting and simply had to have that gun. So bullets I would normally use. So keeping
before I left, I bought a 9mm PCP pistol from
in mind my limitations, we started out.
Dennis Quackenbush to replace the Sam Yang
I had just sold. Dennis didn’t have any of his Within 5 steps of leaving the truck, my feet
bigbore rifles with him this year, as there is still
were soaked in my hunting boots. They
a backlog of deliveries he has to complete. apparently insulated, but not waterproof.
And since I was purposefully going for a small
I’ll have to remedy that in the future! I
hog this year to try a different recipe and
spend the next 8 hours in those wet boots,
method of cooking, I made the choice to use and by the end of the day, I had prunes
the 9mm on a hog that was smaller than what
for feet! Eric had accompanied Walter and
the average hunter might opt to shoot. Mason, while Brian and I worked the other
side of the creek. We stealthily made out
way towards the rear of the
property, hundreds of yards away, looking
for hogs along the creek bank and under
the low mesquite trees. For 3 hours we
was very little. So I knew that we would
have to dive into the thickets eventually to
scare up some hogs.
Brian and I separated after about 45
minutes, and I mounted a feeder stand
that had gone off as I passed it, hoping
the sound of the feeder spraying corn
would bring the hogs out of the thickets for
This time of year is not the best time to hunt a shot. But after about 45 minutes on the
these hogs for a number of reasons. First of stand, I gave up. They weren’t budging.
all, the hogs are at the end of a long hunting
season, having been hunted nearly every I finally decided that a slow stalk through
weekend since October. This means that for the thicket would be the only chance I
the last 7 months, they have been pursued on would have, and I began a very slow walk
a weekly basis, and they are really skittish, and stop method, walking about 10-20
holding close to cover, and being very steps and stopping for a few minutes to
cautious. Secondly, the terrain is really thick, listen and look, as well as smell. When
with knee-to-waist high grass and overgrown you get near a wallow, you can actually
thickets making up the majority of the terrain. smell the hogs before you get up on them
With a pigs build, it is hard to see a large hog if the wind is right. Seems strange, but it’s
in the grass, much less smaller one that I was true. I remember noticing a bent over
hunting. mesquite tree with a fork just about the
right height for sitting down in front of me,
I had sighted in my 9mm the night before with and as I took a step towards it, the bushed
a Tasco Varmint scope mounted on it. It rustled and I froze. I couldn’t tell where it
features a 2.5x10 zoom feature, and I was came from so I
betting that I wouldn’t need any
began a slow turn, and as I made it halfway
around, a piglet stepped into some lower grass
from a thicket to my right and just behind me.
We both froze when we saw each other, and
at first I though it was a rabbit, with the grass
as high as it was. But he quickly ducked back
into the thicket, and I spun back around and
cocked the 9mm. Since I had his location more
or less determined, I did my best to look like a
tree, remaining as motionless as possible.
I began noticing the grass bending against the
wind, and several small pigs began showing
the tops of their backs in the high grass. As I
focused on them, I began to wonder if they
had a larger hog with them, so I glanced
around for a tree to climb in the event a large
hog wanted to argue about the situation. I
really wasn’t armed correctly for a

And since I was purposefully going

for a small hog this year to try a
different recipe and method of
cooking, I made the choice to use
the 9mm on a hog that was smaller
than what the average hunter
might opt to shoot.

confrontation with a truly big hog, though I was

carrying my backup pistol for emergencies. As
I looked back towards the hogs from my
search for an escape route, the large hog I
“I finally decided that a was thinking had to be there stood up. Now the
grass nearly completely covered the smaller
slow stalk through the hogs, but when their momma stood up, there
thicket would be the only was no question as to her size. She had to run
140+ pounds, and all of it business. These wild
chance I would have” hogs don’t have the waddle of domestic
hogs…..they are broad in the front shoulders,
and trimmed down in the rear. They can run
like nobody’s business, and if they decide to
come your way, you had better be quick.
Thankfully, the old girl headed away from me
after deciding her current thicket wasn’t to her
liking anymore. I prepared for a shot since I
assumed the piglets would follow her. But to my surprise, the piglets kept rooting through the
grass, and eventually one of them stuck its head out far enough for me to get a good shot right
behind the left ear. I placed the crosshairs on the base of the ear, and moved them slightly behind
it, and fired.
Six little hogs went scurrying through the tall grass, with my target flopping in the grass only 10
yards away. That’s right, the cover was so thick you could get as close as that before discovering
your prey. I stood next to my prize as it finished its contortions, putting another shot into it to hasten
the end. Another shot presented itself on a little larger version of the one I had just shot, but I
passed on it, content with the pig I had in hand.
Cody and Eric showed up after being contacted by radio, and we loaded a very tender and juicy 20
lb. hog onto the jeep. It was just what I wanted in size, though I was prepared to shoot a slightly
larger one if I had to in order to give my brother-in-law a chance for a grilling opportunity that we
had discussed before I left for the hunt.
At the end of the day, my little hog was the only one taken. Opportunities came up, but with the
conditions I mentioned earlier, it was a tough, long day of hunting. I spent the rest of the day
attempting to drive hogs out into the open for the other hunters, but to no avail. With a shower and
some removal of ticks, the day was done, and it was time to sit around the cabin and share the
day’s experience with each other. And that is perhaps the best way I can think of to end a
hunt….by sharing the experience with others.
“Backdoor guns, Finding Ol’Faithful”
Matt shares his thoughts on a couple of his
“go to” hunting rifles, and what makes them
exceptional field guns!

“Backdoor guns, Finding Ol’Faithful” Matt Sasso

Written by : Matt Sasso of share very similar and somewhat personal
As airgun enthusiasts we often find characteristics.
ourselves fascinated by the newest toy on So what makes a backdoor gun? What are
the market or the high tech gizmo that’s the points that anoint a gun as Ol’faithful?
going to have us shooting farther and more 1. Simplicity
precisely. It’s a whirlwind and it’s easy to get First and foremost, simplicity is essential to
caught up in. And let’s face it; there are the mix. A backdoor gun needs to operate
some nice toys to be had out there in the on a very simple premise. “Cock or pump,
airgun world and lots of folks interested in load and shoot”. Notice we didn’t include fill
the latest review. Even so, I thought it with high pressure air or drop in a CO2
might be nice to pay homage to the cartridge. That’s because a backdoor gun
foundation of airgunning, the “back door should operate under its own power and not
gun” and what makes them so special to us rely on any other gadgets or gizmos to
all. generate power. It’s not that I am
What’s a back door gun? It’s precisely that, discounting the effectiveness of PCP and
the trusty airgun that leans in a corner in CO2 guns. But that special quality of
close proximity of your back door. The Ol’faithful deems that it just work every time
faithful side arm you reach for more often there is a squirrel in the feeder or a possum
than not, it’s the gun with the dings in the garbage without the additional
scratches and rust, the gun that has taken burdens of “Did I fill the gun before I put it
you beyond trust and well into faith. And it’s away?” or “How many shots did I take on
the gun that brings you back to airgunning this cartridge?”. For that reason pumpers
time and time again. It’s no accident that and springers fill that niche perfectly.
these guns find themselves filling the niche. Essentially, at the end of days when all else
Whether you’re deep in the country or bound fails you should be able to continue to load
by the confines of suburbia these guns and shoot.
In addition, the finish should be quality but every time. Consistent power will allow you
humble. Any gun that is too pretty will never the confidence to make shots from the porch
qualify as a backdoor gun for the mere that you might never try in the field. For
reason that it has to be shined, put away example, one thing that shooters become
and kept safe. And anything to ugly will very sure of in their own backyard is
never warrant your affection or stand the distance and how the gun will perform at
test of time. This should be a comfort to those distances. There is a tree about 85
most new airgunners because finding yards off my back deck that commonly holds
Ol’faithful doesn’t mean you are going to lots of starlings. And the buggers like to sit
need to find a second job to pay for it. Most atop it and just taunt me to try for them. In
of these guns will fall in a modest price the field I would most likely stalk a bit closer
range. You’ll be paying for quality where it before shooting but from my backdoor I will
counts. simply shoulder my RWS 34 and aim 3
2. Reliability inches high and wait for the pellet to smack
A backdoor gun will never meet the standard home. There is no guessing. I just know how
unless it is reliable every time. So what all the pieces of the shot will come together
makes a gun reliable? Hitting what you aim and at the center of it is my trusted backdoor
at is a sure sign that things are working out. gun. I know it’ll keep up its end as long as I
Beyond that you should be able to easily deliver.
develop a real feel for how the gun is going It’s unavoidable when discussing power to
to perform at different ranges and from skirt the question of “How much power?”
different shooting positions. It should seem There are very debatable answers to this
like you never lose the feel for the gun and question and rather than tussle over the
can shoot it dead on even if you haven’t myriad of answers I will simply answer from
touched it for 6 months. This is no accident. experience. The best versatility for a go
Most likely the backdoor gun has a great fit everywhere do almost anything production
and comfort that provides easy muscle (springer/pumper) gun that will always
memory. You will hear bow hunters talk perform well will shoot: 900-1000fps in .177
about muscle memory a lot because it is and 750-850fps in .22. These power ranges
essential that the archer retain the same give you a good ratio between accuracy,
shooting form to shoot accurately. range, noise, loading and shooting effort.
Invariably, some guns provide better muscle Please note that lesser or greater power
memory than others and warrant the may work just as well for your situation and I
expression, “It’s just like riding a bicycle, you have taken many squirrels inside of 30 yds
never forget how” with a .22 traveling at just over 500fps I just
Another piece in the reliability equation is find the mid to upper ranges of velocity to be
power. The power should be consistent more accountable.
always. Once the gun is broken in and Finally, the mechanics of the gun should
settles into its comfort zone you should be function consistently. This means the trigger,
able to set the sites and never touch them bolt, cocking mechanism, screws fit of metal
again. The gun should just deliver for you to stock all function and maintain
themselves. Its also nice if they seem to be 4. Sites and Optics
able to take a little abuse and come out Sites and Optics probably lend themselves a
smiling. bit more to the first point about simplicity but
3. Adaptability I get so many questions about these that it
The gun should be very adaptable. First, it made sense to break into it for this article. A
should be able to take a fairly wide array of backdoor gun should have very simple
small game at reasonable ranges and optics. For myself I prefer open iron sites. I
should fall into the 80/20 rule. This means think I prefer this because of the simple
the gun should be able to take 80% of the nature of the whole setup. In addition, open
game at 80% of the ranges you are most sites are a lot more durable and are less
often presented with. Most likely these will likely to get knocked out if the gun is
be pest birds, gophers, squirrels, rabbits knocked over or dropped or riding around in
possums within 50 yds. It may also have the back of your truck. With the advent of
enough power to take larger game like low cost quality scopes entering the airgun
raccoons at very close ranges with a well world, it’s rare to see a picture of someone’s
placed shot. But overall, a backdoor gun is airgun without some sort of scope mounted
going to fit a very wide niche of airgun on it. Admittedly, most of my guns have
hunting needs. In fact, you’ll probably also scopes on them but for my trusty RWS 34 I
find Ol’Faithful does more traveling than any have chosen to keep it undressed. In
other gun and may accompany you on all addition, open sites come up and get the
kinds of hunts. For years my .20 cal shooter on target faster and in the case of
Benjamin Blue Streak followed me on deer the backdoor gun with its comfy fit, they
hunts. I can’t think of one time when I didn’t should be accurate well into 50 yds.
have it out in the afternoon as a way to However, That Benji I mentioned earlier
quietly get some good small game hunting in proudly sports a very simple 4x32 shotgun
as well. That gun took a lot of grouse, scope. I mounted it for my father and for the
rabbits and squirrels. Its over 40 years old shots he takes in the 30 yd range and it’s
now and has become my fathers backdoor perfect, fast and efficient. When it comes
gun as he has waged war on the squirrels down to it all “Good shooters shoot well.”,
raiding his garden. and you’ll need to decide what you want for
Also in the adaptability your backdoor gun but a reminder is that too
category, the gun should be accepting of much complexity will lower your trust in the
many different kinds of pellets. Over the gun and often have you considering failure
years I have found that my favorite guns points like mounts and the alignment of the
have a favorite pellet but overall they will scope itself..
shoot almost anything well with few Over the years I have found a few top
exceptions. This is a real asset when you contenders for the role of backdoor gun. And
have a bushy tailed raider at the bird feeder not surprisingly there are a select few guns
and the only ammo you have at hand is a that meet the standards we have just
pile of mixed pellets in a cup on a hutch by reviewed. Let’s start with the list of
your back door. It’s nice to know you can production guns that are contenders:
drop anything in and hit your mark.
Benjamin 392.22cal

RWS 34 .177 or .22cal

Gamo 220 Hunter .22cal

Beeman R9 .20cal

Benjamin H77

Crosman 1377 or 1322

It’s a short list and based on your gun will do its part. And while I have had
experiences you could most likely expand it some great experience with the Chinese
in any direction given your backdoor gun of guns it has not yet been consistent. BTW,
choice has the qualities we have discussed. for those in the know, I would have also
In addition, you also may want to include placed the BSA Hornet on the list if they
modified guns on your list but I thought it ever put it back into production. That was a
less confusing to limit the selection to dandy little backyard stinger.
production airguns in hopes of answering at There you have it. A short list
least part of that very familiar question. “I am of backdoor guns and a way to measure
new to airgunning, what gun should I get?” them. As I was writing this article, I couldn’t
I think most of us would agree that all of help but recount and actually feel my old
these guns on the list would make for a good Benji .20 taking its first crow from my
shooting partner and would stand the test of mother’s porch, the quick draw of my
time just as well as their simple design has. Benjamin h77 targeting squirrels behind my
Understandably, the R9 is at the high end of garage and my now very favorite RWS 34
the price range but its just such a performer dropping varmints with precision at the
I didn’t think I could leave it off the list. But edges of my property. Earlier I mentioned
overall a very modest budget of $100-$160 that the backdoor gun is the one that brings
will get you into a very reliable, very you back to airgunning time and time again.
comfortable and very accurate shooter that There are lots of distractions in the world
will fill the majority of your backyard and and plenty of important things that keep us
small game needs. I am sure some folks from shooting as often as we like. In the end
are wondering why I have not included any the most special quality of a backdoor gun is
of the low cost Chinese guns. For me its this. It’s a very comfortable and familiar
simple, they don’t meet the reliability hand that guides us back to the essence of it
requirements without a very thorough all, “Fun”.
cleaning or tuning and the range of quality is
still too varied although the quality has
increased greatly. I just feel that for the most Matt Sasso and
part a shooter should be confident that the
Crossman 2240 This gun was modified with a
DAQ .25 receiver/barrel,
improved airflow, a trigger job,
my own handmade grips, and
has accounted for many
AG Hunting takes a look at one of rabbits and squirrels
the best options available in s hunting

For several years now, the Crossman 2240 has

served as a simple to modify airgun that can be
purchased at a relatively low price, and can be
worked on with common tools found around the
garage, with outstanding results being achievable.
The most common modifications include;
An off the shelf 2240 will cost about $50, and can be
found at most “megamarts”
•Trigger job
•After market grips
•Opening transfer port / improving CO2 flow
•After market receiver
•Longer barrel
•Caliber change ( to.25, 9mm, etc)

All of these modifications can be done fairly

simply, and there are currently several suppliers of
after market components. It is also pretty straight
forward and a lot of fun to build your own grips,
though for around $40 you can get some really
beautiful laminate grips from various sources.

After I’ve done the above mentioned modifications

my guns typically produce sub ¼” groups at 20
yards, producing between 9-10 fpe. This is more
than enough power and accuracy to serve as a
close range small game gun.

I have used the modified 2240 to take ground

squirrels and tree squirrels, cottontails and
jackrabbits, sparrows, grackles, and pigeons with
good results, though I generally keep my shots
inside of 20 yards

To take larger quarry you’ll need the power mods

(above) but for small birds out of box power suffices.
The gun shown on this
page was built using a
DAQ .25 caliber
receiver and barrel, a
Biohazard valve, and a
trigger tuned to a 1.5 lb
pull weight. A Tasco
shotgun scope with a
1.5x magnification
topped the gun,
mounted on high profile
leapers mounts that
allowed access to the
loading port.

The Biohazard
The gun has a marked preference for Field & target pellets. In
valve (left) moves
substantially more one test I placed 25 pellets into a half inch group at 20 yards.
gas than the This gun has been used to take many cottontails and squirrels
standard valve over the years, and the. 25 pellet smacks the quarry with a
(right), and was decisive impact that anchors them to the spot. By attaching the
designed for the
carbine stock, this gun is capable of reaching out another ten
.25 caliber gun

I’ve built up a collection of these modified handguns in calibers

ranging from .177 to 9mm, powered with CO2 cartridges and
bulk fill, with stock grips, custom grips, and several sighting
systems. I think this is one of the most flexible platforms
available for building up a hunting CO2 handgun. Build one,
shoot it, and see why so there are so many fans!
Customizing Budget
Priced Airguns
Over-capitalizing your Rig

Jim Chapman There is not a comparable air powered

handgun that I could have purchased, plus
I recently received an email in which I was I got the parts and did the modifications
asked if it made sense to buy an myself learning something about the gun
inexpensive Chinese rifle and put money as I proceeded. I think this is well worth
into having it customized. The gun in the investment, though you most probably
question was a clone of a popular British won’t recover it when and if you sell.
PCP, one of which I’d purchased out of
the first production run and used Taking an inexpensive Chinese springer
successfully in the field. This got me to and doing a simple home tune on it is a
thinking about whether it made sense to cost effective way to get enhanced
spend money improving a low end airgun, performance and more than your monies
and if so under what conditions and how worth out of a less refined product. Many
much represents a smart investment? of the newer Chinese guns are actually
pretty good out of the box, but with some
Over the years, I’ve purchased a number simple to perform tweaking can actually
of airguns that I unpacked, sighted in, shot be turned into a sweet little hunting gun.
enough to learn its idiosyncrasies, then
headed straight out to the field to hunt But there is a point of diminishing return.
with. I’ve also had guns that didn’t quite do For instance, buying a QB-78 and
what I wanted out of the box, and I either converting it into a pcp will cost more than
tuned them myself or sent them off to an buying a purpose designed pcp. Now if
airgun tuner for tweaking and further your going for something that is different
optimization. And finally there are guns to add to your collection, this is still a
that I started out with the intention of using viable option. But if you’re looking for a
as a platform on which to build something budget hunting air rifle that has a proven
better, or more often something that was track record, there are more cost effective
otherwise unavailable. options.

I have taken a low cost product like a I have a B4 that was modified, turning this
2240 that I’d spent $50 on, then buy a low end Chinese springer into a very
third party receiver and barrel for $90, a shootable rifle. But in the end I had over a
valve from Biohazard for $70, and a couple hundred bucks into what is
muzzle brake, trigger shoe, power effectively a thirty some dollar airgun. I
adjustor for another $100, so that in the will never be able to recover the money I
end I held in my hands a $300.00 semi have in this rifle.. On the other hand, I
custom .25 caliber hunting CO2 air pistol. enjoy shooting this gun so why should I
want to sell it? It’s all a matter of
The AR6 Urban Hunter
I used the Evanix AR6 as my small game stock I felt I was on to something. The gun
rifle on an African safari last year, and was has the same solid construction of the full
really impressed by the excellent accuracy sized model, and uses the same double
and 30 fpe power output. I took all manner action and rotary magazine as its big
of small and medium game with this gun. brother. The small reservoir tube gives far
The only negative comments I have is that fewer shots
the gun is fairly large and very loud. But
everyone that hunted with it on that trip;
Randy, Eric, Andrew, and I felt it was a
great all around hunting gun.

Leap ahead a few months, and I was given

an assignment to write an article on urban
hunting, and started to look around for the
perfect kit. I wanted a take down design,
compact dimensions when assembled,
accuracy and power. I’d read a good review
on the AR6 pistol that Stephan had written
for Airgun Hobby, and when I saw the pistol
configured with a removable
A 30 fpe PCP rifle that breaks down to
fit into a pack is the ultimate “Urban

As open land disappears and human population density

increases, I think Airguns will continue to gain in
popularity. Quiet, accurate, and powerful … what else do
you need?
The B-57 Urban Hunter
Another urban hunter I’ve put together for As a matter of fact, this is one of the
situations where not a great deal of power is situations in which these pellets make
required, is based on the Chinese built B-57 take sense. At ranges much outside of 20 yards
down carbine. This side lever .177 spring piston the accuracy starts to suffer and the velocity
air rifle yields velocities in the 600 fps range, and decreases rapidly. But matching the gun and
has proven quite effective on rabbits and rats out pellet to the right conditions, results in a
to 20-25 yards. I’ve set up a light and laser viable combination.
mounted on a leapers tri-rail mounting system,
both of these accessories are controlled with a
pressure activated switch attached to the
forestock with Velcro. The scope is a compact
Leapers 4x32 Bugbuster that fits the rifle well.

This takedown carbine will fit into a pack for

transporting to a the shoot. This gun likes light
pellets, and as a matter of fact is one of the few
guns that I will use Raptor pellets with. At 20
yards the accuracy is still pretty good, the
velocity hits the advertised 25% increase in
velocity over standard pellets, and the terminal
performance is good with excellent penetration.

A low powered spring piston airgun has its place in the

pest control gear bag …. Good for shooting around buildings
and equipment, these guns are quiet and misses won’t cause
Shooting Sticks
Shooting offhand is a difficult skill to master,
but one every hunter should work hard to
develop. Often it will provide the only
opportunity for a shot, and you have to be
ready to take it!

When hunting jackrabbits in the

Southwestern deserts, one often finds
themselves faced with a 35-40 yard shot and
no natural shooting support to take
advantage of.

To improve my odds in these situations, I

often carry a telescoping shooting stick that
is quickly deployed and gives adequate
support to take the longer shot with
confidence. There are several models and
brands to choose from, ranging from the
single stick shown here, to bipod and tripod

Another advantage is that when not being

used as a shooting support, a stick like this
makes an excellent trekking pole!
An air rifle to remember:
Career 707 Western
Stephan Boles
Today, I was sitting at work thinking about all the air gun
hunts I’ve been on. Though, I have taken a few big game
animals, my mind always goes back to the desert and
hunting the blacktail jackrabbit.
Hunting jackrabbits takes a lot of patience. You will find
that most of your shots will be anywhere from 50-80 yards
out and that means you will need an airgun that can reach
out and hit them with authority. For me, that airgun is the
Career 707 Western!
Back in Jan, 2005. I made a call to ARS ( Air Rifle
Specialists ) about buying a Career Carbine and out of
the blue he said “ You know, I may just have the gun for
you. The other day, I was looking through some boxes
and found a nice Career Western in 22 cal”. I said, “ A
If you ever see
career Western? What’s that?” then he said “ It’s a Career one of these
707 just a little bit different. The back of the receiver
reminds me of the Browning Auto 5. It has a long barrel
Career Western
and you can hit dimes at fifty yards.” I asked “Will you air rifle’s at a gun
send me a few pictures of it?” Within 30 minutes I was
looking at one the most beautiful Careers I’ve ever seen. I
show or for sale
immediately called him back and closed the deal. somewhere, you
About a week later, the big brown truck stopped by my
house and I knew what he had for me. I ran out side,
may want to give
signed for the package, and went to the only place I can it a second look.
be alone in the house…. the bathroom. I opened up the
box and took a deep breath when I first saw the rifle. The
It you pass on it.
wood stock has stripes going through it and had a high Just give me a
gloss finish also. The receiver is a silver-gray with an
etched landscape of a deer in the mountains on both
sides. The barrel and air reservoir is deeply blued. The
rifle had a little air in it but, I wanted to make sure that it
would take a full charge so; I slowly started to fill the gun.
When the needle on the gauge went past 1500 psi, I
halfway closed my eyes. Hoping that I didn’t hear any air
leaking out of the seals. It took a full charge and I put the
rifle in the corner and checked it about every hour for the
rest of the day and it held. No air leaks.
The next day, I had to take it out to the sat up with his ears moving a little back and
range. I put on a Barska scope and zeroed forth. With a 28 grain pellet loaded, I put the
the gun at 60 yards. The following day, I cross hairs right on his neck and gently
went hunting. I was using the big heavies, pulled the trigger. Through the scope, all I
Eujin 28.6 grain pellets. I filled the gun up, saw was the fur moving and the jackrabbit
put maybe 20 pellets in my pocket and off to kicking on the ground. I have to tell you right
walk over the desert hills. The temperature now, this is an awesome rifle! It fits my
was around 45 degrees and everything was hands like a glove and when I aim at
still and quiet. As I walked over the first hill, I something, it’s like pointing my index finger.
kept looking down at the rifle. With the The cocking action is very smooth and you
scope on, it looked so beautiful. As I crested can’t tell when the pellet is transferred to the
the first hill and looked around, I felt eyes barrel either. It’s all done with one smooth
looking at me. I then spotted a big eyed motion. You can keep the rifle on your
jackrabbit looking at me. I said to myself, shoulder while still on target and put many
“Here’s your first chance to score a hit with shots down range.
this gun”. I looked down, took the gun off On day four, I got up around 6:00 am and
safe, slowly cocked it, put it to my shoulder, headed out to a new area about 30 minutes
looked up and tried to find the jackrabbit in away. I passed the area countless times but
the scope. He was nowhere to be found. I have never stopped to see if there were any
brought the gun back down and looked jackrabbits. Air tank and gun in the truck,
around for him when all of a sudden, he and a strong cup of coffee in hand, I made
moved. He was maybe 20 yards from where my way to the new area. After getting there,
I saw him last. Knowing that he was out at I started to fill up the rifle and felt something
about 50 yards, I put the scope on him and looking at me. Just a feeling I had. I looked
laid the cross hairs just below his chin and around and saw a jackrabbit about 15 yards
fired. The gun didn’t seem so loud out there. away! This never happens to me. Why didn’t
The pellet hit him right in the mouth. It he run when he heard the truck pull up? I
looked like I hit him with a laser beam. The kept getting my rig together and when I
jackrabbit simply fell over. He didn’t move, finished and cocked the Career Western. He
just dead. sat up with ears in air. I aimed at him and
I went over the next hill and didn’t see put the cross hairs on him, putting pressure
anything. The sun started to get higher and on the trigger when all of a sudden, I
warmed things up a bit The rabbits started decided not to take the shot. I was really
to move around a lot more too. The next looking to test my skills a bit and wanted
hill, I saw three jackrabbits at the same time. more of a challenge. And besides, that little
Two of them saw me first and bolted. One jackrabbit was brave enough to stand there
didn’t move. He was 62 yards out, and as while I got my rig together.
soon as I cocked the Career Western, he
Walking towards the distant hill I
noticed a lot of rabbit droppings.
There had to be more jacks in this
area. I didn’t get more than one
hundred yards from the truck when I
saw a jackrabbit take off running. He
was only 20 yards away when he took
off and ran about fifty yards and
stopped. I raised my Career Western
and I could see his whiskers moving.
I put the cross hairs right below his
eye and pulled the trigger. The rifle
went boom but nothing happened.
From the sound, I could tell that a
pellet was not loaded, so I turned the
gun over on the right side and saw
that in fact, I had not loaded any
pellets in the magazine. I went in my I took a break for a few minutes then I went
pocket and pulled out seven 28 grain over the next hill. As I made it to the top and
pellets and loaded up. I put one down looking down on the other side, I saw two
the tube by cocking the gun, and I big jackrabbits run from about 40 yards
was off again to get another shot at away. I cocked the Career Western and put
that rabbit. The jackrabbit only went the scope on one of them and waited till he
another 20 yards and stopped. stopped. They were both going in the same
Looking through the range finder, I direction, only a couple feet apart from one
knew he was 74 yards out. I put the another. Both of them stopped at the same
cross hairs halfway up his long ears time. It wasn’t two seconds after they
and pulled the trigger. Right after the stopped, that a 28 grain pellet was on its
sound of the gun, I heard a hard way to plow into the chest of one. I could
sharp knock sound. The jackrabbit did hear the shot hit and the jack just fell over.
a flip and started to kick up some To my amazement, the second jack just
dust. I started to make my way walked over and sniffed his friend which
toward him. I always continue to hunt gave me enough time to cock the Career
up to the kill. You never know, you Western and line up a shot on him as well.
may see another one on the way. He By the time he realized what was going on, it
had stopped kicking. Upon inspection, was to late. The cross hairs were right on his
the pellet had hit him right between nose when I pulled the trigger. With a 28
the eyes and there was a big quarter grain pellet going 989 fps, the second
size hole in the back of the head. jackrabbit hit the canvas too. Hitting him in
Very powerful combination of gun, the neck, right in the spinal cord. I looked at
scope and pellet. I took the rabbit the air gauge and found that it hadn’t move
back to the truck and went off again at all.
to find more.
Between me and the next hill was about 300 jackrabbit did a flip and started kicking! I
yards of flat land which is a little harder to took the range finder out of my pocket and
see jackrabbits but I took my time. I saw took a measurement. I couldn’t believe it,
one looking right at me! When I saw him, I 141 yards!! I took the measurements five
was shocked! He saw only about 10 yards times to make sure. Hey, I know it was luck
away! I raised the Career Western cocking it but, hey, I’ll take luck every now and again.
at the same time. Rushed the shot and shot On my way to recover the jackrabbit, I saw
right over him. Unbelievable! He took off full another take off. He was maybe 20 yards
bolt! I followed him in the scope and he out and I quickly shot at him but it was a
stopped about 50 yards. I was just getting clean, clear miss. Oh well, can’t get them all.
ready to pull the trigger, when he took off If you ever see one of these Career Western
again. This time, he made it to the hill in air rifle’s at a gun show or for sale
front of me and I took a deep breath, let half somewhere, you may want to give it a
of it out, put the cross hairs about a foot over second look. It you pass on it. Just give me
his ears and slowly pulled the a call.
trigger…BOOM! To my amazement, the
Sparrows (I think) in China
Reprinted from the American Airgun Hunter
by: Jim Chapman
This is one of those strange stories about a hunting trip that wasn’t supposed to be a
hunting trip. I was living in Tokyo at the time and working all over Asia. I had been called
down to Beijing China on short notice to help salvage a project going bad. My travel
agent arranged the trip, my office in Tokyo arranged the meetings, and everything was
set… I thought. I climbed off the plane in Beijing and made my way to a hotel a couple of
miles outside of the airport and several miles outside the city. I had stayed in this hotel a
few times before, and the plan was to get a nights sleep and be picked up by my
companies driver in the morning. I called into the office to tell them I’d arrived, but
nobody answered. I kept trying and kept getting the same results, so after a couple of
hours I called back to Tokyo to find out what was going on. There were several calls
back and forth and it was finally determined that there had been a mistake in the
schedule and I was suppose to have arrived three days later, and to make matters worse
(or better as it turned out) there was a holiday just starting and I was on my own. I
decided to set up shop at the Movenpick Hotel out in the country rather than head into
the city, and spend a long weekend drinking beer and laying by the pool. I did this with
great success and woke up the next morning a bit off color, and decided to get some
exercise instead of a replaying the events of the day before. I called down to the
concierge and asked what activities were available and after running through the options
decided to rent a mountain bike and go for a ride in the countryside. I had the hotel pack
me a lunch and a couple bottles of water, threw some stuff in my pack and was off.
Just a mile or so away from the hotel, I found myself on little packed dirt roads
surrounded by agricultural land, mostly rice fields, that stretched out as far as the eye
could see, I kept riding as the day started to become warmer, it was a clear blue sky with
a scattering of clouds. Riding along I saw something coming towards me, but I couldn’t
make out what it was, and as it grew closer I realized that an entire family was balanced
on a bike. Mom, dad, baby and grandma (or grandpa, I couldn’t tell) perched on what
looked like a dilapidated beach cruiser, and what contributed to the bizarre silhouette
was the ample stock of household goods and farming implements they had also loaded
on. I eyed them thinking this was quite a site, when I realized they were looking at me
the same way. I am over 6’1’’ tall, wore somewhat longhair and a beard at the time, was
wearing day glow bike shorts without a shirt. I must have been the very picture of some
rice field demon rolling down the road. We all pedeled by, eyes locked on one another,
going on our way with our own individual stories of the weird sight we’d seen.

I continued on for a few more miles and rode by several family farm compounds that,
even though we were only twenty or so miles out of Beijing, looked like something out of
the distant past. They were of a common design, a few rough stone buildings arranged
in a rectangle around a courtyard, with a large hinged door to allow entry with equipment
or animals. I could see families inside, going about their business. At one of these
compounds, it was somewhat larger than the others, and surrounded by scattered trees I
saw what looked like a teenage boy of fourteen or fifteen creeping around these little
woods with an airgun. I broke out my water and a snack, and leaning my bike against a
tree, sat back to watch. After a few minutes the kid saw me and looked somewhat
alarmed. He started moving away, but I waved him over. Trying to look friendly and non-
threatening I finally got him over to me, and using my Berlitz language book I tried to ask
him about his gun and what he was
hunting. I did not know then, but I do
now, that the Berlitz guide has a
Coming in July!
dearth of hunting expressions. Using
sign language to show him that I
liked to hunt (aiming and squeezing
off shots from my imaginary gun)
and trying to modify the Berlitz
phrases for meeting new friends at
the disco, I continued my inquiries.
At one point, he looked at me with
what I thought was alarm and trotted
off into the compound. Now I’ve
done it I thought, I led him to believe
that I was a western subversive set
on infiltrating China with a plan to
get my hands on an air rifle, and
cause god knows what havoc and

As I was climbing on my bike to take

off before the family descended on
me with pitchforks, the kid came
running back carrying an additional
rifle. He indicated through signs (he
spoke as well but I got not one word
of it) that I could use a rifle and
shoot with him. This was too good
an opportunity for an inveterate
airgun hunter, and besides, I was on
my own schedule and in no hurry to
anything else. The rifle was an
underlever cocking pneumatic air
rifle, which had a military look to it. I
later realized that it was probably
some variation of a Model B3 rifle
that is now days commonly sold via Forth installment of Jim
the internet. It was roughly finished
and pretty banged up, but on Chapman's series on hunting
shooting a few shots to acclimate
myself, found it pretty accurate with airguns. Jim covers guns,
considering I was using iron sites. gear, quarry, and hunting
We were shooting .177 flat head
pellets, and I had no way of knowing techniques he’s used to
(or based on the diminutive size of
our quarry, really caring) what successfully take game on three
velocity these guns were putting out. continents.
We hiked down to some trees behind one of the out China shooting what at home was a pest,
buildings where I had first seen him stalking. but here I guess I should consider game.
Looking up I saw a flock of perhaps forty or fifty have long believed that there is a certain
little brown birds flitting from limb to limb. I pointed subset of any population that are hunters,
and he nodded affirmation that these were our and now I know they have their own
quarry. I took aim at a bird about 20 feet up in the language.
tree and squeezed off a shot, missing him cleanly.
The kid laughed, I guess bad shooting transcends
cultural differences in language and humor, and To wrap up my story, as I tried to find my
snapped off a shot…. Plap! A bird dropped to the way back it got dark. There were no lights
ground. The others did not seem to take notice that anywhere and I was surrounded by a great
one of their numbers had departed under less than deal of nothing. The compounds were all
favorable (for him) circumstances. I took aim once shut up, and even if they weren’t, I wouldn’t
again, and this time nailed one of the little buggers have been able to communicate. My food
with a chest shot. The bird came tumbling down, and water were long gone; I was hungry,
and my hunting companion didn’t look pleased. He thirsty, and lost. I was using my compass to
pointed to the chest shot and indicated this was try to keep going in the right direction, and
bad placement; he made me understand that these it was a little disconcerting riding along
little birds, I think they were sparrows of a type, under moonlight. After working my way
were destined for the table.. I spent the entire through fields and around dead ends, I
afternoon shooting and the two of us took a large rolled out parallel to the highway. But I
number of birds, which seemed to please him to no wasn’t sure if I’d come out above or below
end. We would shoot at a stand of trees until the the hotel, so taking a chance I picked a
birds got nervous, then move to another. I think a direction. It turned out to be the right
CO2 multi shot rifle probably would have been direction and eventually I rolled into the
powerful enough for this game, and the ability to hotel parking lot. The next morning I
follow up would have been nice. brought the bike back, and the guy that
I noticed it was getting late in the day, and nodded rented it to me was most unhappy that I
my thanks for the fun day of shooting. Riding away had kept his bike all night. After the
I thought it interesting that without being able to exertions of the day and night before I
speak the same language and having nothing in decided that I’d spend my last free day
common but the hunt, I had spent a really fun day back at the pool, drinking beer and
somewhere in the agricultural backwaters of reflecting on the hunt.
The Maturing Airgun Field
To demonstrate the greater maturity of current
airgunning, I’ll cite some experiences and Reflections on
observations from over the past 20 years. The
first one is advertising, because for many airgun
enthusiasts, they’ve never seen many of the Growth of our
guns that they desire, so it’s the advertising that
they see first with their contact with airguning.
Mature people accept plain and blunt
statements of fact when delivered with courtesy
and sincerity. Mostly gone now is the flowery
Dennis Quackenbush
language extolling the pride of ownership and
the double speak of giving you the highlights
without a complete picture of the airgun; scanty
information. Nothing is more important when
you make a mail order purchase and the item
arrives and you realize that it is priced more The official importer/distributor was under no
than it’s worth, and the quality is less than what obligation to offer warranty service and,
you paid for. The internet has been a good because of European specifications, the
source for airgunners because they are few in parts may even be different, therefore
number and widely separated and the internet unattainable in the U.S. I haven’t seen any
ties them together coast to coast. Through gray marketing of airguns for a long time
internet participation airgunners soon learn from now because upon seeing a picture of the
others about undelivered promises and unreal gun most airgunners would catch on that
claims, allowing them to make a better choice in they are not made for the U.S. market. The
their purchase. There was once a gray market speed at which new innovations in airguns
in airguns. A gray market is when an item is occur is much more rapid. The eventual end
imported by someone other than the official of innovation will never happen, but the
importer/distributor. There would be European airguns have taken a quantum leap forward.
or English made airguns for sale by never heard The only problem with this is that it makes
of before people (and never heard from again) the airgun that you bought just last year
who, on a trip to Europe, returned with a handful obsolete and less saleable used. Yet, some
or a score of airguns hoping to recoup part of airguns are so good, like the TX 200, that
the cost of their trip by selling the airguns. The they are good sellers for years on the
unfortunate part for the buyer was is that the strength of their proven usability and
guns were lower power European specification performance. The growth in numbers of
and may have been styled or have other airgunners is encouraging. Years ago there
specifications different because they weren’t was only a small amount of hard core
intended for sale in the United States. airgunners who, without the internet, would
gather at airgun shows. The first Little Rock
airgun show, sponsored by US Airgun
Magazine, was small.
the room a group were studying a Sharpe air
pistol by disassembling it. Nobody had
checked the barrel to see if there was a
pellet in it or that the gun had a charge in it.
During handling the gun discharged.
Fortunately the breech was not closed
properly, for when the pellet flew across the
room, it was not at full power. It struck me
right on the seam of my Levi’s (then, Levi’s
were still made in the USA and were
substantial products). It hurt like a bee sting!
It didn’t penetrate the skin, but I still had a
welt from where it hit. Another unthinkable
airgun handling mishap, that should never
happen again because it broke all the
But among those who attended were the common sense safety rules, was that a
most dedicated, they had to be, to go along loaded, cocked, ready to fire, high power big
with the difficulties. One of them was after bore airgun was handed to an inexperienced
the first day’s show a majority, just about person. Well the gun discharged during the
everybody, went to Michael’s restaurant, handling and at least the muzzle was
which was connected to the La Quinta pointed downrange, but when it when off the
motel. The restaurant was used to sending muzzle was elevated so it shot a hole in the
sandwiches as room service and when the ceiling. These types of mistakes would not
40 to 50 people from the airgun show be repeated today with the heightened
descended upon it, it was overwhelmed. It awareness that airguns are not toys. And in
took actual hours to get your meal. It took another 20 years I would be more than
over 2 hours for my wife and I to get our pleased to be able to say that the airgun
meal. While some fumed about the situation, hobby has reached new heights of
most were happy to spend the time amongst participants with even better airguns (in
newfound friends discussing airguns. So ways we can’t even think of right now).
instead of being a restaurant it was a
meeting room with refreshments served
occasionally. The first Baldwinsville show I
Dennis Quackenbush is
attended was so small that half of the arguably the guiding
American Legion bar room was petitioned off light of the high powered
for the tables of the airgun show. But that
size was no impediment. Everyone there
big bore airgun
wanted to be there to be in the company of movement in this country
other airgunners and surrounded by airguns. today. His airguns have
The gun handling safety awareness has
risen tremendously, thank goodness. At the taken more big game
Baldwinsville airgun show I was standing than any other.
next to the jukebox talking with Tom
Anderson, when I got shot in the leg. Across
Airgun Pest Control Report
A master of the low power hunting gun heads out to
the Californian farmlands to thin out air-born and
ground dwelling varmint

Farm Pest Hunt: The good, the bad & the ugly.
Summary: (a) 50 & 15 acre farms hunt; (b) 400 acre
farm hunt; (c) 100 acre farm hunt; (d) 200 acre farm
hunt and follow up; and (f) 400 acre farm retry. Plus
Hamilton finally gets a Beeman R9,

50 ACRE FARM HUNT (Hamilton gets kicked off and

other bad news):
The 50 acre farm, what with its cattle, goats, chickens,
Robert Hamilton
and farm dogs and cats had been a family-run farm for
over 40 years. I got access to it only a few months back.
Some starlings, some blackbirds, a few ground squirrels,
the occasional English sparrow and a multitude of barn
pigeons! And to make things sweeter, of the average
200 daily pigeons there to share the livestock feed, over
50 of them were farm residents. Mostly up in the rafters
and eaves of the 100 or so yard long, open sided barn
where the cattle feed troughs were.
On my initial scouting walk thru, the pigeons perched up
high in the rafters were letting me walk within 15 yards.
Talk about a place made to order for a low power airgun
like a Beeman R7!
Why such a low powered airgun for pigeons? Why not a powerful Theoben Rapid or
other potent pcp?
Well, for logical reasons:
- The place was only 50 acres. And most shots would be at high angles. Can’t be
lobbing pellets across property lines and hitting passing cars or the McMansion on the
other side of the country two lane road.
- The barn had a sheet metal roof. Punching holes in the roof where they are obvious to
the farmer is a fast track to being told to leave and never return.
- An R7, given precise pellet placement, will take a barn pigeon out at 40 yds or so.
On my first hunt at this 50 acre farm, using my anemic Swift 4-12x scoped R7 (600 fps
with 8.4 gr JSB Exact 4.52 domes), I got 31 feral pigeons and more than that in
blackbirds, starlings and ground squirrels, shots averaging 35 yards. Very doable for an
R7. So a couple months later, on my second hunt there, it was a bit of a shock to find
about 80% of the cattle gone, the rest to be sold off, a lone hired hand feeding the
remaining cattle and wondering if his job would last until the end of the month.
Calls to the farmer did not get returned, though I had spoken to him earlier in the week. I
hunted in the meantime, knocking down 18 barn pigeons and various starlings,
blackbirds and a couple crows. All with the early production, Swift 4-12x scoped HW55
with the gen2 10.2 gr. JSB Exact 4.52 Heavies at 550 fps (too heavy for this old 10 meter
match gun but very accurate and a good ballistic coefficient).
Around mid-afternoon I phoned a relative of the farmer. The relative told me the farmer
had sold and was moving to Texas. The farmer had been renting the land from the
relative. The relative and the farmer didn’t like each other. The relative assumed I was a
buddy of the farmer and she told me to get off the farm right away.
I told the her I’d be off in minutes, and was.
I left the 50 acre farm and drove about ¼ mile to the 15 (20?) acre farm, which had some
pigeons, along with a city yuppie in a new McMansion across the street. The city slick
had walked over to the 15 acre farmer and told him, “I don’t know what you do here, but
when the wind blows in my direction, it sure smells. I don’t like it and I want you to do
something about it.”
In my area, this kind of person with their big, fancy houses on little 5 acre ranchettes and
their country-intolerant attitudes are part of the reason, new livestock farms can’t get
permits, poultry farms get denied permits and forced to move or shut down. My area is
fun of empty, shut down family farms.
This 15 acre farmer raised a handful of cattle as a sideline. Too little land to make a
living at it, he had a day job in the nearby city.
The 15 acre farmer was the father of the relative controlling the now shut down 50 acre
farm. And as friendly and welcoming as the 50 acre farm relative was not. Alas, the 15
acre farm, despite having about 30 or so pigeons hanging around, was too close to a
well-traveled road, and the hostile city yuppie in the McMansion to make it a good day
hunt site. I hung around the rest of the afternoon, able only to get a few pigeons.
Finally, I thanked him and promised to do a future night shoot and went home.
1,000 ACRE FARM:
On my next farm pest hunt, I was able to get out the house earlier than usual. So I did a
quick crow hunt of the nearby 1,000 acre vegetatable farm. Brockley, lettuce,
cauliflower, strawberries and sometimes artichokes. This farm, though big, was a clean-
farmed place, no livestock, and few pests. Just the occasional crow in the trees
bordering the vegetable fields.
I got there shortly after 6am and stayed an hour, which was enough time for what little
was there. In that hour, I cruised the veggie field edges, watching the trees.
I heard the crows before I saw them. Well hidden where they were perched in the field
edge trees. The trees of the willow jungle, near the creek, not the oaks of the west
slopes. The large, flat, featureless vegetable fields being in between.
Weather was a high, cool fog off the ocean and the wind was blowing west to east at
about 10mph. I had my Beeman R7 with it’s Swift scope at 12x magnification. My
preference for farm pest hunting.
The nearest crow let me approach to about 25 yards. This farm doesn’t get hunted
much. I dropped the crow with a rested shot to the upper chest. All my shots are rested
Front and back shots are the easiest way to drop crows and pigeons. Given the R7’s
low velocity, 8.4 gr JSB Exact 4.52mm, soft lead, round head pellets do not like to have
to penetrate the tough, heavy wing feathers of broadside shots.
Would a pointed pellet be a better penetrator?
The downed crow squawked as it fell and suddenly I had a dozen crows circling above. I
kept still after reloading. Crows landed in the same tree top that the downed crow had
been in. Convenient for me. I held upwind an inch for wind and dropped two more
Very doable shots at 30 yards.
After that, the rest of the crows wised up, flapped a few hundred yards off and lit in some
other trees of the willow jungle. Didn’t stop me though. I approached to about 30 yards
under tree cover and the quiet little R7 dropped two more. The rest of the crows left.
I headed out, pausing only to shoot one more crow on my way off the farm. A bit farther
at 35 yds, but holding 2” upwind of the crow, the wind drifted the soft lead JSB into the
center of the crow’s chest. The crow fell like the others had.
I was back on the highway and headed down the road to the 400 acre farm by 7am.
This farm has numerous cattle and a fair number of pigs, sheep, goats and a few horses.
It is a nice mix of veggie, grain, hay, and livestock. Still a few miles out of city limits so
given some luck, it should hold out for a number of years yet before succumbing to urban
sprawl and turning into a housing tract. Normally, there are a couple thousand pest
birds scattered about. Mostly blackbirds, with feral pigeons, and lesser numbers of
starlings, crows and English sparrows.
Not this time though.
The young ground squirrels were still babies in the dens. I didn’t want to shoot the
parents. So, the hunt today was to be pest birds only. Thus the choice of my Beeman
R7 as primary hunt gun. The backup was the Beeman R9 which was in need of re-
zeroing it at 30 yds and re-trajectory plotting it, after removing the Paul Watts tune.
Earlier this morning, I had wondered if I was missing some prime farm pest hunting by
spending time as I did at the 1,000 acre veggie farm, instead of getting earlier to the 400
acre farm? True I had bagged 6 crows this morning at the 1,000 acre farm, but on one
hunt to the 400 acre farm, about a year ago, I had so many blackbirds coming into the
cattle pens area, that I just stood in one spot, resting the R7 on the tall camera stand
rest, and kept pivoting in a circle, shooting almost as fast as I could. I was near
swamped with flocks of migrating blackbirds to the point I ended the day with over 300
pests, the calm air assisting marksmanship.
Not this time. No cause to regret taking an hour earlier this morning to get the 6 crows at
the 1,000 acre clean farm.
I got to the 400 acre farm a bit before 8am. Weather was high fog. Temp about 55’F.
All well so far. But for two problems.
The wind and the birds.
Normally, the air is calm or near calm at the 400 acre farm until 11 or 11:30am. Then it
picks up and blows the rest of the day, stronger as the afternoon lengthens. Not this
time. Upon arrival, the wind was already blowing about 15 mph from NW to SE. The
usual direction. Here, the inland farming valley I hunt is separated from the nearby
Pacific Ocean by coastal mountains of about 2,000 feet in height. Except for here in the
Monterey area, where there is a miles long gap in the coastal range.
The inland farming valley air heats up by late morning. The air over the ocean stays
cooler. The cooler ocean air is drawn into and down the north to south-running inland
farming valley, usually bringing fog and always bringing wind. A wind tunnel effect.
Some airgun folks like higher powered airguns for farm pest hunting. But a lowly 6 to 7
ft/lb muzzle energy (M.E.) air rifle like the Beeman R7 or 10 meter target air rifle like the
Weihrauch HW55 can be just as effective if not more so farm pest gun in a windy
First, a Beeman R7 or HW55 have a jointed, two-piece cocking arm. This may make
cocking a little more effort that a one piece cocking arm as on a Beeman R1 or R9. But
the advantage is that the jointed, two piece R7 and HW55 cocking arms mean that the
customary long stock cut-out of the R9 and R1 is not required. So with no long stock
cut-out slot, dust, chaff and grit is less able to get into the inner workings. Thus airguns
with R7 or HW55 type cocking arms are a better choice in dusty environments.
Second, the slower the pellet flies, the easier it is to watch the pellet in flight. With
careful trajectory plotting, the required hold-over/under for various ranges can be refined
into a science. Just laser range-find the pest with the laser range finder.
Get the distance. Check the trajectory plot taped to the stock for the hold over/under.
Make a careful, rested shot holding high or low per the trajectory table and voila! The
pest critter is hit where one aims! One shot, one pest!
Given a 30 yard zero, my R7 and HW55’s hit about 2 inches low at 40 yds. It is easy to
hold 2 inches high, even on a starling, making these low power airguns nearly slam-dunk
out to 40 yds. And on many farms, the pests are used to human activity enough to allow
open approach to 40 yds.
I am perhaps one of the few holdouts to the use of computer programs that calculate and
create airgun trajectory charts. Computer programs like Chairgun and others have
many fans. I will guess for good reason. A few years back, I bought the program the A-
Team was selling, but never used it, despite reading many compliments about it. Years
earlier than that, I bought the FSI airgun trajectory chart printouts.
The FSI trajectory charts compared well with my real life results at the shorter distances,
but my airguns tended to have the pellets drop off at the longer distances faster than the
FSI charts predicted. So I started making trajectory charts which are quite accurate.
How? Simple. No computer required.
First, get an airgun and a laser range finder. Chronograph the airgun with the pellet to
be used. Get out to a range or other suitable place to shoot on a calm air morning.
Bring a large cardboard box on which you have taken a big, black ink marker pen to and
made small bullseyes for ranges of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60+ yards,
labeling each bullseye with the distance one must shoot it at (5, 10, 15, etc).
Get a rest to shoot from. I like a folding camp chair with padded armrests and an
adjustable height camera stand with a piece of dense foam pad glued or taped to the
platform where one would otherwise put the camera.
Adjust the camera stand height for the shooting position. For hold-insensitive springers
like my Beeman R7, HW55 or AirArms TX200, I shooting sitting with a 3 point rest.
Meaning that (1) my feet are on the ground; (2) my left hand (wearing a padding glove)
holds the air rifle forearm and is relaxed and at rest on the top of the camera stand rest;
and (3) my right elbow rests on the padded arm rest of the folding camp chair. Not as
good as a more secure bench rest setup, but it is light and portable.
For hold-sensitive airguns like my FWB124 (high hold sensitivity), my Beeman R1
(medium hold-sensitivity) and my Beeman R9 (surprisingly low hold-sensitivity), I shoot
all the ranges in two positions. First I shoot all the distances using a two-point sitting rest
positon (same as the above 3 point sitting rest only the right elbow floats in the air), and
then I shoot them again, at a fresh target face using a two-point standing rest position.
In farm pest hunting, I normally walk about with my pellet rifle in my right hand or slung
over my right shoulder and I hold my lightweight, camera stand rest, extended for
standing position shooting, with my left hand. Most of my shots are two-point standing
So with hold-sensitive airguns, first zero at the preferred distance. I like a 30 yard zero
because when it comes to small target farm pests, if they let me within 30 yards, they are
generally soon dead. Thirty yards, given a rested shot, is really quite easy on starling
and better sized pests.
I shoot, it falls and another mark is made on the dimestore, shirt pocket, hunt tally and
observations note book I carry.
But regardless of your zero distance preference, with a hold-sensitive airgun, shoot all
the distances using a 2 point sitting rest. I like a 5 shot group at each distance.
Next, set up a fresh target face and shoot all the distances using a 2 point standing rest.
Don’t change the sights, after the rifle is zeroed, other than a windage adjustment if
Walk back to the former cardboard boxes (now target faces) and with a ruler or tape
measure, measure where each group hit, as to how high or low from the bull.
Given the say, 30 yard zero, how high or low the groups hit (point of aim vs. point of
impact difference) is your hold over/under measurement. See examples below. Write
them down on a small piece of paper and tape to the side of your stock. I like the left
side of the forearm.
Now you are ready to be a serious hunter. You shoot from a steady position to
maximize your user accuracy. You get the distance for the shot with your laser range
finder. You get the hold over/under amount from your custom, real world performance
trajectory chart. After each hunt, chronograph your airgun. As long as the scope hasn’t
been bumped and the chronograph readings are little changed, the trajectory chart
should remain good.
And you will never miss.
Well, um, ah, there is the little matter of the wind. In over 30 years of farm pest airgun
hunting, when it comes to correct allowance for wind drift, I am still far from expert.
Every other aspect of airgun shooting can be made into a science. But wind doping
remains an art. The stronger the wind, the less user-accurate the shooting will be.
Not only do low power airguns have a safety advantage on a busy, working farm, but
when the pellet flies downrange slow enough for the shooter to see it travel, the shooter
can then better deal with the wind.
Seeing the pellet in flight, the shooter can then see how much left or right (or up or down)
the pellet misses the pest by. The shooter reloads and hits the pest with the following
shot by adjusting the wind drift allowance as the missed first shot indicates.
Assuming the pest sticks around.
In the sport of Field Target (FT), distances to the target are determined by big, high-
magnification scopes that range focus with sensitivity. But for hunting, big FT-suitable
scopes are well, big. And heavy.
In hunting, the more weight you carry, the sooner you tire. The sooner you tire, the
sooner user accuracy drops off. A good
night’s sleep beats coffee on a hunt.
When it came time to select a scope for my
“new” (used) Beeman R9, it was a case of
the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
I looked through my spares kit. An old
Beeman/Hakko M66r 2-7x 32mm scope?
Nope. Too low power for my need to shoot
small birds at longer distances and see poi.
Swift 8-32x 50mm mil-dotted FT-suitable
scope? Too heavy and long.
Mil-dot reticle scopes are in fashion these
days. I have a couple of them myself. Yet I
don’t find them useful. I’m so used to
estimating hold over/under and wind drift
allowance by eye, that mil-dots do nothing
for me. Mil-dots just add another layer of
complexity to the process of shooting.
Standard duplex crosshairs do it for me. Over the years, what I
So, I went with my spare Swift 4-12x 40mm found was that these two
scope. Part of the appeal of a Beeman R9 piece mounts lacked the
is its hunt-suitable characteristics of medium
power (about 13 ft/lbs M.E.), medium size bump-resistance of one
and medium weight. So don’t add piece mounts.
unnecessary weight.
The mount was of course, the one piece
medium BKL mount. No scope stop pin, yet
no scope slippage in over 300 shots.
All my pellet rifles used to have two piece
Beeman/Sportsmatch mounts. But no
more. Over the years, what I found was that
these two piece mounts lacked the bump-
resistance of one piece mounts. One piece
mounts have more gripping surface and
handled knocks and bumps without the
scope getting off zero much better. The
only two piece mount I will use, is the BKL
two piece double strap mount due to its
greater scope groove gripping surface. And
No starlings. Only the rare black bird.
that only on my TX200 with its long length Well, what with my schedule, I can’t really
B&L/Bushnell 4200 6-24x 40mm scope. choose the best hunt days.

But back to the 400 acre farm hunt: It was hunt or quit. I hunted.
PROBLEM #2, THE BIRDS: At least I did my best to hunt. I walked up
Ground squirrels were off the menu for this hunt and down the borders of the livestock pens.
because the babies were still parent-dependent I checked out the line of young wind-break
down in the den nests. It was birds or bust this trees which had drip irrigation offering fresh
hunt. And thus this hunt became a bust. water and convenient perches to pest birds.
Normally there are pest birds scattered all over I hiked up slope to the livestock feed storage
the place. Or if not that, there are big, cohesive piles. And checked out the big, sheet metal
if hard to hunt flocks of pest birds that can be storage buildings.
chased around, and some individual pest birds And how did it go?
that have strayed from the safety of the flock. I quit hunting by 11:30AM. Too few pests
Not today. The place was a pest bird desert. and too much wind (now about 20+ mph
My lightweight Bushnell 6x25mm binoculars gusts).
showed very few pest birds around the cattle The wind was blowing my R7’s pellets about
pens, normally the best place for pest birds 3” at 30 yards. I had managed to wind drift
because the birds come to share the cattle feed pellets into 31 blackbirds and three barn
(and poop in it). I saw no crows. Few pigeons. pigeons. I also shot a starling by the pig
pens. Plus a couple token ground squirrels. The rest of the day, I was in the big storage
building, zeroing and trajectory plotting the Beeman R9 (ref. below trajectory plot). Note
how similar the 2 pt sitting and the 2 point standing trajectory plots are. This is a mark of a
low hold sensitivity airgun and thus a hunt suitable airgun.
7.9 gr cplite#5, 877fps
2 pt sit / 2 pt stand: rest,
Fingertip seated
05 yds = -7/8” / -7/8”
10 yds = -3/8” / -1/4”
15 yds = +1/4” / +0.0”
20 yds = +1/4” / +1/2”
25 yds = +1/2” / +1/2”
30 yds = +1/2” / +3/8”
35 yds = +1/4” / +1/4”
40 yds = -3/8” / -1/4”
45 yds = -1” / -3/4”
50 yds = -1” / -1 ½”
55 yds = -1 7/8”/ -1 ¾”
60 yds = -3 1/2”/ -3 1/3”
65 yds = -4 1/2”/ -4 ¾”
70 yds = -6 1/2”/ -6”
75 yds = -8” / -8”
80 yds = -9 3/4”/ -10 1/2”
(1/2” ctc@80 yds, 3 pells)
(1 3/16” ctc@80 yds, 5 pells)
(3/4” ctc@65 yds, 5 pells)
(Groups generally tight core groups with shooter wobble fliers)
Now look at the below FWB124 trajectory plot. Notice how, despite the soft tune of the
FWB124 and a lighter weight piston (factory piston is 11 oz), the 2 point sitting and 2 point
standing trajectory charts differ. This is the mark of a hold sensitive airgun and thus not a
good airgun for farm pest hunting where consistent hold technique is not possible.
Ed Canoles 8.5 oz piston
7.9 gr JSB Ex Express 4.52,
Pellseated, ball, 777fps
2 pt SIT / 2 pt STAND: rest,
05 yds = -1” / -1”
10 yds = -1/2” / -1/2”
15 yds = +0.0” / -3/8”
20 yds = +1/4” / -1/4”
25 yds = +0.0” / -1/4”
30 yds = -1/4” / -1”
35 yds = -1/2” / -1 1/8”
40 yds = -3/4” / -2”
45 yds = -2” / -3 1/2”
50 yds = -3” / -4”
55 yds = -4 1/4”/ -5”
60 yds = -5 3/4”/ -6 1/2”
(60 yds: sit: 2 ¾” ctc & stand: 2 1/8” ctc. All groups shotgun patterns)
A large cup of McDonalds coffee to keep me
alert on the drive back and I was home by The almond hulls pile was only about 25
5PM. Not a good hunt, but any hunt beats yards from the north end of the hay shed. A
no hunt and the R9 had impressed me with long, wall-less, sheet metal roofed structure
its accuracy and how similarly the 2-point where the 20 foot high stacks of hay bales
sitting and 2-point standing trajectory charts were kept and used as part of the cattle
compared. Meaning this R9 at least, was feed.
not very hold sensitive. A surprise as I had While I was there, I built a hunt blind out of
always heard R9’s were hold-sensitive. bales, having happily found some straw
I planned to use the R9 on my next hunt bales. The 3 string hay bales were about
here at the 400 acre farm. When I returned 120 lbs each. Thus saving James from
to shoot ground squirrels. having to waste prime early morning hunt
100 ACRE FARM: time doing blind building. Blackbirds arrive
A three generational family vegetable shortly after sun up. As did the feral
(lettuce and broccoli) and livestock (cattle, pigeons.
horses, pigs, and a few goats and chickens)
farm. Run by a farming family who
welcomed me to pest shoot there about
seven years ago. And was a lot more
prosperous back then when gas and diesel
weren’t over three dollars/gallon, alfalfa hay
bales weren’t $15 each and their modest
cattle business was profitable enough to
replace worn out farm machinery and
vehicles without making the business run in
the red.
It was time for another pest hunt there. I
couldn’t get away for the hunt, so I called
upon my friend, James with his trusty,
scoped .177 Beeman R7. I’d scout the
place and set up a blind and James would
be the shooter.
Pre-hunt, I drove over to the farm and
checked things out. Super! The farmer
had gotten in a fresh, pickup truck-sized pile
of almond hulls (have bits of almond nuts in
it) from the almond processor. Several While I was there, I built a
hundred blackbirds were spread out all over
the farm. In the veggie fields, in the shade hunt blind out of bales,
trees, in the livestock pens and yard. But having happily found some
the fresh almond hulls (and broken nut
meats) pile was really pulling them in. The straw bales.
farmer said he had gotten the new almond
hulls just the day or so prior.
On the hunt day, a couple days later, James Now, the farmer had had to get rid of his
did well in the straw bale blind, sitting on a remaining cattle and had plowed up the
camp chair and taking rested shots with his former cattle pasture and cattle grazing
R7, using fingertip-seated 7.9 gr CPLite range. Where most of the ground squirrels
domes at about 560 fps. The hunting was had been. The former cattle lands were
hot and heavy early. Fading to only a few being prepared to be planted in strawberries.
shots per hour by mid-afternoon when he Far fewer ground squirrels were in sight than
called it quits. Typical black bird hunting at last year. But it wasn’t only the missing
this particular farm. Good early. Lousy late. cattle and cattle pasture that were the
James ended the hunt with kills of about 80 culprit. Vegetable farmers tend to be less
blackbirds, a couple crows, a few feral tolerant of ground squirrels and other pests
pigeons, a few English sparrows and a few than livestock farmers and ranchers. Fresh,
starlings. Plus the odd ground squirrel. Not new poison bait stations had been placed
bad for a slightly anemic R7, hey? every 100 yards or so along the newly
200 ACRE FARM, THERE AND BACK planted veggie fields. About a week ago,
AGAIN: and so long enough to have poisoned most
James is not only a good friend, excellent of the squirrels.
shot and safety-conscious hunter, but he I let James do the hunting and he used his
has a great sense of humor and is nearly own .177 Beeman R9 to good effect, finding
retirement so he can hunt more than me. and accounting for 38 squirrels in places the
So, I made him a hunting partner. poison bait stations had missed. James
I have access to a 200 acre veggie farm, came back the next week for a follow up
heavy on the strawberries that ground hunt but saw more poison bait stations and
squirrels so enjoy. The farmer wanted few remaining ground squirrels. He hunted
ground squirrels shot and reported juvenile all day for 18 ground squirrels. A slow,
ground squirrels out of the dens. So it was windy day of which the high point was his
time to do a serious ground squirrel hunt getting stuck in some mud in a remote part
there. My other fellow farm pest hunting of the farm where AAA would probably never
partner, Steve, was likewise tied up with find him.
work. Steve had been hunting the 200 acre Lucky for James, five farm workers came by
farm last year and earlier this year, but just and got his car out of the mud.
couldn’t get away. So James and I drove to Meanwhile.
this farm to check things out. WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS: More
Sure enough, juvenile ground squirrels were airguns:
evident. James hadn’t hunted this farm I haven’t bought a new airgun in quite a
before, so I said hello to the farmer and we while. Quality adult airguns, treated well,
spent an hour driving all over the farm, not will last a lifetime and then some and my
quite getting stuck in the soft, dry dirt, small collection of a Beeman R7, a
locating active ground squirrel dens. The Weihrauch HW55, a Beeman R1, an IZH60,
place used to have a nice, grassy cow a Feinwerkbau F124, and an AirArms TX200
pasture and old, disused cattle pens. But Mk3 more than filled my farm pest hunting
that was before the e-coli bacteria hysteria. needs.
But recently things changed with recent purchases of a .177 Beeman R9, another .177
TX200 Mk3, a .22 RWS54, as well as the not quite as recent second .177 HW55.
Hamilton with an R9? After all these years of looking down at the R9 as an el cheapo
R1? Will wonders never cease?
The Beeman R9 is a down-sized version of the big, heavy Beeman R1 break barrel
springer. Less gun in a smaller, more lightly built package. I was not in the market for a
Beeman R9, new or used.
Yet, a Watts-tuned, Beeman R9TK, beech stock, was offered me, with a Sportsmatch
one piece high mount and a ABO mil-dotted Weaver V16 4-16x 42mm scope. The “TK”
being the designation for the former near-legendary Maccari done barrel-tunes in which
he cuts, chokes, crowns and shrouds the barrel. In near-new condition. .
For $350.
At that price, I had to buy.
The owner said it wasn’t shooting accurately for him. Thus the good price.
I’m no tuner, but I can do simple stuff.
With any airgun, particularly springers, a chronograph is a valuable airgun diagnostic
tool. The most handy chronographs are those with indoor light features. Years back, I
bought a chronograph with each of the two light shades sporting a built-in fish aquarium
bulb type light. Thus allowing chronograph use indoors and on top a table or work
bench. Airgun folks without their own chronograph are handicapped in being able to
monitor airgun health.
Well, the owner told me that this R9 had been shooting 7.9 gr CPLites at 820 fps. I
chronographed it. Fingertip seated cplites were doing 790 fps. Tune probably had
about 1,000 shots on it max. So, it was possible the tune and spring had merely settled
in a bit, at a lower velocity.
Too low a velocity? Well, 790 seemed acceptable to me. Years back, I had bought a
blue laminate R9 from Maccari for a friend. It shot a consistent 750 fps with cplites in
factory condition, other than a Maccari cut/choked/crowned/shrouded barrel and gave
pleasing accuracy to the point the 750 fps was not bothersome.
Well, I started shooting my “new” R9TK. The trigger was light, quick and crisp. What a
delight after years of trying to master the inferior trigger action of my FWB124! This was
a gun that was a natural pointer and seemed to want to shoot well. Firing action was a
quick, snapping action. Accuracy was decent enough with consistent 1.5” ctc, 5 shot
groups at 50 yds, sitting on a camp chair with my camera stand rest.
More shooting, but targets and over the chrony only.
Oh oh! Velocity had dropped to 775 fps with 7.9 gr Crosman Premier Lites. More
shooting and about 100 shots later, velocity dropped steadily to bottom out at 730 fps
before rebounding to 740 to 750 fps. I had one chronograph session where the R9
started out at 805 fps and 30 shots later, was doing 740 fps.
So, I re-read Tom Gaylord’s old R9 disassembly instructions and took it apart. Here’s
what I found:
Piston head had been lathed down into sort of an upside down cone shape in order to
take a donut style Maccari blue Apex piston seal (or one that looked just like one). It
looked to be the same Maccari piston seal he sold for the TX200. A nicely made,
precise seal.
I had a spare Maccari TX200 blue Apex piston seal and pulled the old piston seal and
replaced the old blue Apex TX200 piston seal with a new one. Worn seals are always a
good place to look when velocity is erratic.
The R9, with the new TX200 piston seal shot the same, about 750 fps.
I also saw that of the 3 delrin buttons on the piston skirt (rear part of piston), the first
button was too low, being flush with the metal of the piston. The second button was
normal height and the third button stuck out noticeably higher than the second button.
Causing metal to metal rubbing?
With a light, I could see that the top of the compression cylinder had a long wear streak,
about ¼” wide. The piston metal had been rubbing the compression cylinder wall. The
button on the top of the piston skirt where the cylinder wear was, was the button so low it
was flush with the piston, so it could not prevent this metal-to-metal wear. The piston
button that protruded noticeably more out from the piston skirt than its fellow, was near
the bottom of the piston.
Did the too-high piston button push the piston skirt off center and the too low button allow
the subsequent metal-to-metal rubbing? Or did the previous owner over-tighten the
scope mount base and squeeze the thin compression cylinder tubing of the R9 out of
round, allowing the rubbing?
Whenever installing a scope on a R7, R9, FWB124 or other springer lacking the battle
tank build of a Beeman R1 or HW55 compression cylinder, it is smart to do the following:
First, with no scope mount on the gun, chronograph and record the velocity.
Second, install the mount and scope.
Third, chronograph the gun again.
If the velocity is lower with the scope and mount, then the mount was over-tightened.
Use a scope stop and less force on cinching down the scope mount bolts. Or go with a
BKL one piece mount. And try to tighten the scope mount bolts near the butt end of the
gun, more tight than the mount bolts at the muzzle end of the mount. Reducing the
chance of squeezing the compression cylinder out of true round.
The Watts worked over piston would no longer accept a factory piston seal. What I
ended up doing, was to dump the Watts-ground down R9 piston and order a brand new
factory piston with factory piston seal from Beemans (about $70 all told).
So, any difference? You bet! Replacing the Watts tune R9 piston with a stock R9
piston, instantly jumped the velocity upwards about 100 fps, from about 760 fps to 870
fps with CPLites. No more velocity variations either. It has been hanging right in there,
at 870 plus/minus a little.
Last chrony session had the 10 shot average at 877 fps with a only 6 fps extreme
spread, with 7.9 gr CPLite#5’s. Very nice and tight extreme spread!
It took a couple hundred shots to burn off the excess lube that theWatts-done piston had
let into the compression chamber, but was done and velocity has stayed right about 870
And as a bonus, the R9 shoots quieter and no longer has that abrupt piston stop feeling.
Piston slam?
And as an added bonus, accuracy has improved.
How improved?
I almost dare not say, least you think I’m exaggerating.
Despite my lightweight, folding camp chair and camera stand rest, when I shot my 80
yard group, I shot 3 shots and checked the group thus far. Three shots in a ½” ctc
group?! Half inch at 80 yards? Talk about an accurate R9!
But that was a mistake. Such a good group was still only a 3 shot group and I had two
shots to go for my standard 5 shot group. I really, really didn’t want to blow it, so
naturally fell apart under the pressure and pulled off on the 4th and 5th shots. My
incredible 80 yard group now was just a “good” 1 3/16” ctc group. Sigh!
But it was my fault. Not the R9’s. The first 3 shots were when I pulled the trigger with a
perfect sight picture and so got the ½” group. I pulled off the last two shots. Couldn’t
handle the pressure.
So, here the R9, given a better marksman than me, is capable, of 1” or better 80 yd
groups! A keeper or what?!
A minor problem was that the Beeman/Sportsmatch one piece scope mount stop pin did
not protrude far enough down into the R9’s scope stop pin hole. And due to the thin
walls of the R9 compression cylinder, the pin holes in the R9 receiver are quite shallow
Not a big deal, I just tapped the Sportmatch’s stop pin so it extended to the bottom of the
shallow R9 stop pin hole. But the stop pin was narrow and the recoil force started it
pushing a small indentation into the R9 stop pin hole’s rearward side.
I pulled the Sportsmatch mount and installed a BKL one piece medium mount instead.
The chronograph showed no change in velocity, with or without the BKL mount, so I had
not over-tightened it. Back on went the Weaver 4-16x 42mm scope and several hundred
shots later, the scope and mount have not moved.
I was eager to try out my “new” R9 on an actual hunt.
I was seeing juvenile California ground squirrels near where I work, thus clueing me in
that it was time to do a serious ground squirrel hunt. Last time at the 400 acre farm, I
had seen enough ground squirrels, all adults, to make it worth a return for squirrels,
though few pest birds had been present.
Ground squirrels come out of their burrows later than do pest birds such as crows,
starlings, blackbirds, etc. So no reason to get to the farm early. Yet, I was parking my
car by the big storage shed at 6 AM.
The 400 acre farm owner had taken the sheet metal siding off two of the big storage
shed walls a couple years back. Unfortunately the up and down wind walls. Turning the
shed interior into a wind tunnel as this area is almost always windy from late morning
onwards. Happily, earlier this year, the farmer had put the siding back on. Unhappily, he
has not put the doors back on. There are two big doorways at each end of the big
storage building, for a total of four doors. Each doorway big enough to drive a semi
through. All wide open.
Previously, one of the two doorways at each end of the building was blocked off, making
the shed interior a nice, wind-free 60 yd indoor target range for me to zero and trajectory
plot in.
I had previously switched to a less desirable target shooting location down in a mostly
wind-sheltered ravine nearby. But last year, the farmer put pig pens in the sheltered
ravine. Right where I was doing my target shooting. Oops.
So happily, the walls were now back on the big storage building. Unhappily the doors
were left open and the afternoon wind blows through.
I was there at 6 AM only because the early morning air is normally calm and I needed to
zero and trajectory plot my rebuilt, late production .177 caliber Weihrauch HW55
breakbarrel. The seller had had it Paul Watts tuned. It was shooting 7.9 gr CPLite#5’s
about the same speed as my .177 caliber Beeman R7 was shooting 8.4 gr JSB Exact
4.52mm pellets at, despite the HW55 using a longer, heavier wire spring and having a
longer compression stroke.
So I took the HW55 apart and took a look at the Watts tune.
The HW55 was shooting CPLite domed pellets at about 610 fps, with easy cocking effort.
A good speed for starlings and blackbirds, but a bit more power would be nice for
Inside the HW55 was not a HW55 spring. Instead it had a Beeman R7 mainspring. A
shorter, lighter spring. The R7 spring was on a Watts steel guide, nice and tight so no
spring vibration. A heavy steel spacer/guide, est. ½” long, was on the piston end of the
The piston seal was not a HW55 piston seal but looked like a Maccari blue Apex TX200
donut style piston seal, but smaller. The head of the piston had been lathed down to
take the TX200 style piston seal.
Radical alternation of the piston, of an out-of-production airgun like the HW55 is a risky
thing to do. Particularly if anything goes wrong. Particularly doing such without the
owner’s knowledge or permission, explaining how the machining work would make the
HW55 piston unable to use factory HW55 piston seals (or Maccari HW55/R7/HW50/R8
piston seals).
Even a fairly rash guy like myself, when I wanted to experiment with a lightweight
FWB124 piston, I didn’t alter the factory piston. FWB124 being another out-of-
production airgun warranting caution before changing factory parts to other specs.
The reason for the R7 spring became apparent. The piston had been sleeved using thin
brass sheeting.
With the HW55 piston sleeve (ala R9/R1 style), a HW55 mainspring no longer would fit
inside the HW55 piston. The sleeve had reduced the piston I.D. too much. So a smaller
R7 spring was used instead.
The R7 spring dragged and resisted a bit as I pulled it out of the piston. The piston
sleeve was a rectangle of thin brass but where the two sides of the rectangular brass
sheet, bent into a cylinder, came together, they overlapped by a small amount. Maybe a
millimeter. Forming a raised ridge on that one side, running the length of the piston
The R7 mainspring rubbed with notable friction against the raised sleeve seam ridge.
Unnecessary friction robs power and I pulled the sleeve. I put Beeman moly grease on
the TX200 style piston seal sides, careful to not let any grease get on the piston face. I
put a smear of moly grease around the delrin buttoned piston skirt and put everything
back together, keeping the R7 spring, and shot it over the chrony to see if velocity
The good news was that velocity with CPLites increased from 610 fps to 650 fps. And
with a R7 spring at that!
The bad news was that the HW55 was now dieseling badly. A small cloud of black
smoke joining the pellet with every shot. After each shot, breaking the barrel and looking
up the bore at a bright light, I could not see the light. The post-shot barrel was so heavy
with black smoke I couldn’t see even to the muzzle.
About 100 shots later, the heavy dieseling still continued..
Well, there is a reason for everything. Time to check the piston seal.
I took the HW55 apart and paid attention to the piston, moving it up and down the
compression cylinder manually. The piston traveled the up and down the compression
cylinder easily. Too easily. The piston seal was undersized and a clean q-tip ear swab
on the inside of the compression cylinder and visual examination with a flash light
showed a too thick coating of grease/oil on the cylinder walls, causing the chronic
A bigger piston seal was needed.
Well, now what? I called Beeman and they didn’t have any HW55 replacement pistons.
The tuner had ground down the piston head to take a TX200-style donut seal. I had
spare HW factory and Maccari R7/HW55/R8/HW50 piston seals but the piston would not
take them any more.
Now what? The Watts seal was too small. Normal HW55 seals could no longer be
I emailed Hans Weihrauch directly. The response was polite but told me to order
through Beeman. Nothing yet, yea or nay from Beemans. Hopefully they will be able to
find a replacement HW55 piston yet.
Well, a happy ending, thanks to Ed Canoles, “Mr. Custom Piston” or WVED as he
appears on the Yellow/Fun Supply/Kitchen Airgun forum.
Ed Canoles had previously altered my other HW55 piston to take an o-ring piston seal.
The o-ring sealed piston did not diesel due to WVED’s penchant for precision, and had
upped velocity with 10.2 gr JSB Exact 4.52 Heavies from 540 with a factory piston seal
to 580 fps with the o-ring piston seal.
Best of all, Ed designed his work to be reversible. I can later change it back to a factory
piston seal myself. Brilliant! Innovative, precision, yet reversible work..
Lucky me. WVED is so unknown, that I got about a one week turn around, despite his
non-airguns day job.
Well, WVED promised to take a look and I mailed him the Watts-altered HW55 piston.
In a week, I had the HW55 piston back. WVED had used his analytic, machining and
silver soldering skills to create a new piston head that fit precisely, even more so than
the original piston, the factory HW55 piston seal I had included. Very precise, neatly
designed work.
Typical Canoles.
He also trued the piston rod (found it to be out of true). The guy doesn’t miss a trick.
And polished the piston too.
I had a Maccari HW55 piston seal but the one I tried was a little oversized and I was in a
hurry to get ready for a hunt, so I put the factory HW55 parachute seal back on, saving
the Maccari seal for later when I had time.
A light smear of Beeman Moly grease around the piston seal sides. Same for the delrin
buttons area of the piston skirt and back went the piston into the compression chamber.
Tighter sealing with the HW factory piston seal, but smooth.
Without the piston sleeve there was no particular reason to continue to use a R7 spring.
I had a Maccari HW55 tune kit using a bronze guide with the aircraft valve wire springs
from a few years back. In went the kit and back together went the gun.
After some warm up shots, the remaining excess chamber lube was burnt off and I set
up the chronograph. 660 fps with 7.9 gr CPLites. Nice! No longer as light cocking as
with the R7 spring, but still pleasant and a better farm pest gun now.
I put the G&R 3-12x 42mm scope back on the Beeman/Sportsmatch one piece, high
mount, droop-adjustable mount that had come with the gun. Stable at 660 fps, 50 shots
or so later, it was ready to be 30 yard zeroed and trajectory plotted to 60 yds.
So, for reason of this classic, non-recoilless, break barrel, former Olympic 10 meter
springer match rifle, now a farm pest gun, there I was in the old, cavernous storage
building, setting up a temporary target range, at 6 AM. The building was empty but for a
house-sized pile of livestock feed (almond hulls) in one corner and some hay bales near
one doorway.
Outside of the storage building, a scoop loader was filling the farm livestock feed truck.
Piles of livestock feed were stored outside, next to the storage shed, on the big concrete-
covered area. A pile of salad discards, a pile of carrots, a pile of silage, stacks of hay
bales. Only occasionally did the scoop loader enter one of the big, open entrances on
the north side of the building to get a scoop of almond hulls or more hay. The loader
operator saw me. I waved and set up my target range out of his way.
No electricity in the building. Daylight now but dim inside. I unrolled a couple hundred
feet of outdoor extension cord, plugged it into the live outlet in a smaller sheet steel shed
nearby, noting a couple pigeons staring down at me from the rafters. In the big shed, I
leaned some 2”x 8”x 6’ planks against the far south wall to be the backstop, leaned the
large sheet of cardboard marked with black ink marker bullseyes, and turned on the
spotlight work lamp to shine on the target face. Now I was ready to zero and trajectory
The target face was about 3 feet by 3 feet, having been two sides of a large cardboard
box the day prior. Range-labeled black bulls, courtesy of my ink marker pen, for ranges
of every 5 yds, from 5 to 60 yds were easy to see in the bright lamp light.
With my Bushnell 500 laser range finder, I measured off 30 yds and set up a robust,
folding camp chair with padded arm rests. Bought from Costco for about $15. The
Samsonite adjustable camera stand rest (from Circuit City) with the cut piece of high
density foam padding on it’s top platform was the rest for my left hand. Sitting in the
camp chair, my right elbow rested on the padded arm rest. What I call a 3 point sitting
By 8:30am I was done zeroing and trajectory plotting the HW55. Twelve bulls total had
been shot, each with a five shot group, from 5 to 60 yds. With a small tape measure, I
measured the amount high or low the groups were from the small black circles I had
penned. Measuring the difference between point of aim (poa) and point of impact (poi),
gave me a trajectory chart to tape to the side of the forearm.
Then in hunting, I would use the Bushnell laser range finder to get the distance to the
pest and a quick glance at the trajectory plot told me how high or low to hold.
See below for HW55’s trajectory chart. My 60 yard, 5 CPLite group was 1 5/8” ctc.
Nothing to be excited about, but decent enough.
3 pt sit rest
7.9 gr CPLite#7,
Pellseated, 660 fps It wasn’t hunting really. Not as
05 yds = -1”
10 yds = -1/4” far as these naïve little juvenile
15 yds = +1/2”
20 yds = +3/4” squirrels were concerned. It
25 yds = +1/2”
30 yds = +1/3” was killing. Just killing. No
35 yds = -1/3”
40 yds = -1 1/8” glory. Nothing to be proud of.
45 yds = -2 ½”
50 yds = -4 ¼”
Just doing farmer-desired pest
55 yds = -6 ¾” liquidation.
60 yds = -9 1/3”
Today’s hunt was to be a ground squirrel-only hunt. Which was a good thing since yet
once again, the farm was all but vacant of pest birds. Normally there are a couple
thousand blackbirds and starlings, and a couple hundred feral pigeons, and a couple
handfuls of crows scattered around the farm.
Well, the pest birds weren’t here last hunt here, several weeks ago, when I worked hard
and walked a lot and still only bagged 31 blackbirds. And they still weren’t here. Very
few pest birds.
But the juvenile ground squirrels were out and about.
There weren’t a lot of ground squirrels since this farm puts out poison bait stations, but
enough to hunt.
I put the HW55 back into the cheap, black plastic hardcase and got out the R9TK.
Firstly, the R9 shooting 7.9 gr Crosman Premier domes at 875 fps gave me a 60 yard or
so effective range versus about 40 yds for the 660 fps HW55. Second, the wind was
only growing stronger, giving the nod to the more powerful airgun. And third, I had to
cover hundreds of yards between shots at ground squirrels and the R9 was lighter to
hike around with than the HW55 match rifle. And lighter than my AirArms TX200
underlever springer.
The Beeman R9 had only the standard, old style, featureless beech stock on it. No grip
checkering or any other features, but it’s amazing accuracy and low hold sensitivity more
than made up for the lack of an eye candy stock. My FWB124 has an eye-catching
grade 4 walnut stock on it. But performance has its own beauty. And as a hunting
sporter, my FWB124 is inferior to my recently acquired R9.
The ground squirrels were few and far between, maybe averaging one per every 300
yards. So the R9 slung over my shoulder, Bushneell500 laser range finder and Bushnell
compact 6x25 binoculars looped around my neck, and comfortable jogging shoes on my
feet, I set off down the lanes providing access to the various areas of the farm. For now,
the cattle pens and pasture roads.
The wind continued to blow from the NW. The hunting was simple. I simply walked up
and down the farm roads, mostly where the livestock enclosures and pastures were.
Neither looking much to the left nor right. My target was the high visibility ground
squirrels that had tunneled under the farm lanes and the cattle feed troughs along the
lanes. Squirrels out in the adjacent barley fields were out of sight in the 12” to 15” barley
plants. Squirrels in the upper cattle pasture could wait a different day. They tend to be
few and shy anyway. I just wanted to clean out the ground squirrels most evident to the
farmer, hopefully forestalling his putting out poison bait for them. A slow death was the
Juvenile ground squirrels were out and about the den entrances here and there. Small,
naïve, and innocent, they were easy prey. Usually one or both parents were around,
watching over the young as they explored, fed, sunned themselves and played, chasing
and wrestling with each other. Spook distance of the adults was about 50 yards on
average. For the juveniles, spook distance was more like 30.
I walked at a fast clip until I spotted ground squirrels along the lane, up ahead. Then I
would slow down to a casual cow’s pace, moving slow and smoothly without the quick
movements that catch the eye. I was dressed in my Orchard Supply Hardware tan utility
shirt, pants and wide-brimmed cowboy style hat, I did not stand out visually either.
Probably looking more like a misplaced building custodian than a hunter.
When about 50 yds from the squirrel(s), I knelt down, using the camera stand, adjusted
for kneeling and sitting shots, I took careful, deliberate aimed shots, holding as per my
trajectory chart told me for elevation and per my best guess for windage. The R9 rarely
I would take out the ground squirrel parents first. Then little juvenile ground squirrels no
longer had the protection and guidance of the parents. They continued to play or if they
popped down the den entrance upon my shots, they were soon back up. I rarely had to
wait more than five or 10 minutes before the young, little squirrels re-emerged.
Some dens would have no evident juveniles. Just an adult or two. But most dens had 6
or more young out around the den entrance. I’d line up two at once and put them both
down with one cplite.
It wasn’t hunting really. Not as far as these naïve little juvenile squirrels were concerned.
It was killing. Just killing. No glory. Nothing to be proud of. Just doing farmer-desired
pest liquidation. The only justification being for this version of Spring hunting was that a
quick death via shooting was more humane than a slow death caused by repeated
feedings at one of the poison bait stations.
I found myself looking down at the bodies of the little juveniles and apologizing to them.
There is a reason why Spring hunting of game animals is not generally allowed. In our
country at least, the concept of fair play is traditional. Letting baby and young animals
grow into young adults at least, before making them fair game, gives them a chance to
experience and enjoy life a little. And a chance to learn survival skills.
But from the farmers’ viewpoint, they are a pest causing economic damage.
Possibly health hazards too. The ground squirrels, even the juveniles, had a lot of fleas.
Just a couple hundred yards on my westward leg of my walkabout hunt outside the cattle
pens, I looked left and saw a lone crow sitting on one of the concrete cattle water
troughs. It had come in for a drink.
Range to the crow was 40 yards per the laser range finder. With the 6 to 7 ft/lb M.E.
Beeman R7 or Weihrauch HW55, I would take careful, precision shots, doing my best to
place the pellet in critical spots to compensate for the low power of such pellet rifles.
Now with the much more powerful, yet still very user accurate Beeman R9, the crow
didn’t stand a chance. The cplite hit it so hard, central upper chest right where I had
wanted, that it didn’t even twitch as it fell in place.
Unfortunately, it toppled over right into the cattle water trough where the cattle drank. To
leave it there would foul the water. I had to climb the fence and retrieve the crow.
Yet more unfortunately, the group of curious but gentle heifers in this cattle enclosure
had a sizeable bull with them. Horns were cut, but still definitely an adult bull. I shed my
rifle and gear to give me increased agility and speed and climbed into the est. 60 by 100
yard enclosure.
The bull was a young adult bull, not an old crotchety bull and I reached the cattle water
trough and pulled the floating crow out before the bull made up its mind what to do about
me. The bull decided it didn’t want me in with its heifers and started for me. Moving
faster than I had entered, I was back over the fence and out.
If it had been an old bull, one of the massive ones, I would not have dared enter. I would
have had to ask one of the cowboys, who enter the enclosures on horseback, to remove
the crow.
As I walked briskly in big loops around the farm, pausing only for the periodic ground
squirrel shots, walking miles, half way down towards the west end of the farm, I saw
The crows were off to my right, a couple perched on a the fence of a cattle pen and a
half dozen more walking about, down on the cattle-hoof trampled bare dirt of the pen.
Range to the nearest crow was a mere 35 yards. The cattle enclosure fence mostly put
me out of sight. The crow didn’t act like it saw me. Or if it did see me, it didn’t care as
they were familiar with the farm workers who fed the cattle and fixed broken fences, etc.
Lucky me, the shot to the 35 yard crow was directly into the wind. He dropped in place.
The other crows didn’t notice. The next nearest crow was also directly upwind, at 40
yds. A little tougher shot and what with the 20+ mph wind, my hit was a little off. The 40
yard crow fell from the R9’s hit, but squawked.
Immediately, there flapped in another half dozen crows. All upset and cawing loudly.
One landed on the fence post nearest to the downed crows. Forty yard shot and I didn’t
miss. The rest of the crows didn’t land and soon enough left.
Smart birds.
My morning walkathon hunting consisted of big loops along and around the cattle
enclosures and pastures to the south half of the farm. That is where I saw and got some
crows, along with ground squirrels.
In the afternoon, after tying the chin strap of my wide-brimmed hat yet tighter to try to
defeat the unceasing effort of the increasing winds to make me chase it, I switched to
big, walkathon hunting loops along the cattle yards and pastures to the north half of the
I shot a few ground squirrels here and the occasional one there. Lot of walking and I’d
repeat the loop so to come back again to shoot the squirrels I missed the first time.
Again, mostly singles and doubles with the occasional den surrounded by little juvenile
squirrels, that I then mowed down with the capable R9, using a kneeling or sitting rest to
escape some of the wind.
Blown dust was something near-fierce. Post hunt, it took about 30 minutes to dig most
of the dust out of the nooks and crannies of the R9. The cans of compressed air used
to blow dust off electronics like computer components are handy for blowing dust off
scope lenses and hard to reach parts.
At the far northwest corner of the farm, I walked by a dead cow that had been pulled out
of one of the cattle enclosures and left laying out, awaiting disposal. Five turkey
buzzards were on the scene. Four sitting on the dead animal, eating it. One perched on
the nearest fence post. Happy for the eats, they let me walk by, about 35 or so feet
away, just watching me.

Here at the far northwest corner of the cattle area, with only a barley field between me
and the neighboring farm, there was a runoff pond used to catch and hold runoff water
from winter rains contaminated by cattle pee & poop. Definitely not water to drink or bath
On the other side of the pond, about 50 yds away, there were a half dozen ground
squirrels moving around, up on the pond banks. They saw me but were willing to let me
find a good place to sit, on the bank opposite them and adjust my camera stand rest for
rested sitting position shots. The wind was in my face so lateral wind drift was only
about an inch at 50 yds, but I held an extra inch high as head winds slow the pellets and
make them drop faster.
A few more ground squirrels emerged, including some juveniles. I left none standing.
Part of the job of farm pest control hunting. It is not sport hunting.
Just as I started the eastward leg of the big loop for this north half of the farm, a feral
pigeon (barn pigeon a.k.a. rock dove) landed right in the middle of the farm lane
paralleling the cattle pens (if a pen at least 3 times the size of the normal suburban
residential lot is a ‘pen’). Range was about 70 yards, but it didn’t mind me opening
walking to 50 yards whereupon I set up a rested kneeling shot and shot it.
A couple more pigeons flew over the dead bird and landed nearby. So, holding right for
the wind, which for the angle involved meant holding about 4 inches upwind of it, I shot
my second pigeon for the day. I bagged them as the farm manager was happy to have
This side of the farm was where the feral pigeons were. A group not far away of 15 or
20. A single there. A pair a little further. Another group of a dozen or so, scattered
about to one side, pecking at stuff in the dirt, in the enclosures with the cattle.
I was focused on squirrels so unless the pigeon was right in the paved farm feed truck
lane so I wouldn’t have to climb a fence to retrieve it, I passed them by. Few squirrels
were on this side of the farm though.

The farm road was straight and narrow and gently sloped uphill. At its eastern end, a
couple white, boxy, double wide house trailers sat near the cattle corrals, where cattle
can be loaded onto or off a transport truck. A few years ago the house trailers weren’t
here, but had been brought in for the Mexican farm workers and their families to live in.
Allowing on-site residence.
About 60 yards south of the two house trailers, was another cattle effluent catch pond.
Pond was about 50 yds across.
The Mexican families in the house trailers had dug up the native wild grass on the flat
between the trailers and the pond, and had planted a garden of about an acre in size. I
counted about 20 ground squirrels (adults and juveniles) living in dens in the est. 25 yard
wide strip of remaining fallow grassland between the garden, with its rows of young
green veggies sprouting, and the pond shore.
A dog on a long lease was staked out between the garden and the squirrels.
The farm manager drove by and said ok to my idea of trying for some of the squirrels
that threatened the worker garden. I leaned my R9 up against a fence before I
approached the nearest double-wide. A Mexican woman field worker was just driving off
to go to work, her husband being the cattle feed truck driver on the farm. She didn’t
speak English, but her 13 year old son did the translating, as he was learning English in
With the parents at work, the 13 year old was in charge of his 3 year old brother, a cute
little guy who could climb fences with some skill and much enthusiasm.
The 13 year old volunteered to show me where to hunt the squirrels. The 3 year old
followed. The squirrels were spooky and though I saw a couple at 35 yards, from the
fence behind the trailer, I didn’t get any clear shots. I wondered why so spooky?
The 13 year old led his baby brother back to the trailer and emerged with a .177 caliber
Gamo break-barrel. It was kid-sized and not a magnum Gamo. I could stand behind
the 13 year old and watch the pellet fly. Iron sighted, or I should say plastic sighted as
plastic was the main component.
The 13 year old, closely followed by the 3 year old, followed me around to the other side
of the pond. Everyone with low shoes on, we all sat down on the far side to pick grass
seeds out of our socks. I set up a sitting rest position with the ground squirrel dens from
45 to 60 yards away. I had a good view of multiple dens.
A few blackbirds landed on the thicker parts of the pond surface. The 13 year old shot at
them. At his request, I shot several. Ranges about 25 yds. Not hard despite the winds.
But where were the squirrels?
After 30+ minutes and still the ground squirrels had not come back up out of their dens,
the 13 year old mentioned that not only he shot at them, protecting the garden, but one
relative had a .22RF he used and another had a firearm shotgun.
Small wonder I had only gotten a couple misses at 60 yard squirrels in the last hour here.
I had wanted to look good and score points with the farm worker families by eliminating
the ground squirrels threatening their veggie garden, but the squirrels weren’t
cooperating. I got none.
After an hour, it was 4 pm and I figured I had one more hour of hunt time. Uphill and
east of me about a quarter mile, was the old, big storage sheds where I had done the
early morning target session. There were often a few barn pigeons in the shed and
buildings and the wind-sheltered ravine with a few squirrels down below.
I helped the 3 year old with removing grass seeds from his socks and shoes, and paused
every so often to do the same for myself. Definitely low jogging shoes in tall, dry, range
grass wasn’t a good idea.
Giving up on the ground squirrel dens near the farm worker double-wides, I headed
upslope towards the big storage sheds. But not alone. The 13 year old and his 3 year
old brother with me. I felt responsible, what with their parents at work. Wasn’t quite the
ticket for efficient hunting though. The 13 year old hadn’t hit anything with his small
Gamo break-barrel, and I wanted to find him something within his capabilities.
We finally arrived at the big shed. There were a couple pigeons up in the rafters. The
13 year old had a very good game eye and chased them about, inside the big storage
building. The two pigeons obliged by merely flying from one high rafters perch to
another, staying inside the building. The 13 year old, in time, hit one pigeon, though not
too seriously. The pigeon declined to fall. So, I walked the kids to a nearby small, sheet
metal shed. Instead of the ceiling being about 15 yds up, the small shed ceiling was
only about 5 yds above. Two pigeons were perched on a rafter above our heads.
The 13 year old took careful aim and his anemic Gamo neatly dropped a white pigeon.
Pretty. Pretty birds, but the farmer doesn’t like them roosting above and pooping on the
machinery and supplies below.
The 13 year old swelled with pride. I gave him a tin of pellets as he was about out of his
small plastic box of Crosman pointed.
We circled below the big storage building, to look for ground squirrels near the pig pens
in the wind sheltered ravine. But the wind was everywhere today. Including a good
breeze blowing through the wind sheltered ravine. Little around. Just a few ground
squirrels up on the west-facing hillside. I hit one ground squirrel and missed two others.
A few starlings were hanging around the pig pens. I shot one and missed others.
The wind blew yet stronger.
The farm workers smiled at the sight of our unlikely trio, as we walked back to the family
house trailer, next to the aged cattle loading dock pens. I did a final de-weed seeding of
the little 3 yr olds shoes and socks and promised the 13 year old, another tin of pellets,
after giving him most of my CPLites from my pellet belt pouch.
More pellets were in my hunt kit box, back at the car, about a third of a mile away. I left
the kids at the house trailer and fast walked along a farm road, back to the car. It was
5:30pm and I had planned to leave by 5. Anything with kids takes more time than one
would otherwise think.
Back at the car, I hurriedly put away my hunting gear and wrote up a day’s kill tally to
give to the farm manager. He was standing nearby, next to a circle of farm workers.
We all waited for him to get off his cell phone.
The 13 year old and his 3 yr old little brother appeared, not having wanted to await my
return to the house trailer with the promised tin of pellets. A cluster of other small,
Mexican farm worker kids soon gathered. I counted 9 including the two that had hunted
with me. Ice cream bars from the little freezer cart of the Mexican vendor were a dollar,
so I gave the 13 year old a ten with instructions to buy for all of the kids, when the vendor
The farm manager was still talking on his cell phone. The farm kids were being
supervised, more or less, what with a half dozen farm workers gathered here, next to the
horses corral area, so I gave the manager my kill tally, and drove home, bucking the
wind all the way.
The lack of pest birds was compensated for by huntable numbers of ground squirrels,
what with the juvenile ground squirrels emerging from the den nests. Despite the non-
stop stiff winds, 70 ground squirrels, 4 crows, 3 starlings, and 11 pigeons were taken. All
with the .177 caliber Beeman R9TK putting out 7.9 gr Crosman Premier Lites at 875 fps
at the muzzle.
The wind limited shots to closer distances. The ground squirrels were shot at ranges (in
yards) of 50, 15, 25, 55, 50, 50, 30, 45, 40, 35, 40, 47, 50, 35, 35, 35, 35, 34, 50, 50, 50,
20, 25, 8, 9, 37, 35, 35, 36, 35, 38, 37, 37, 38, 37, 38, 35, 35, 37, 41, 41, 40, 41, 41, 30,
30, 36, 20, 50, 18, 34, 20, 10, 5, 51, 22, 60, 35 and a couple denfuls shot at ranges of 30
to 40 yds.
Feral pigeons were taken at ranges of 21, 20, 40, 45, 20, 45, 45, 34, 41, 41, and 40
yards. Note how few shots were taken past 50 yards, despite the R9’s capability to do
so. The wind limited the shots, although the juvenile ground squirrels and the pigeons
allowed closer approaches. The juvenile ground squirrels because of their innocence
and the pigeons because they had not been hunted and were used to people.
And almost all the longer shots were taken on ground squirrels which were along the
wind-protected, lee side of the two foot high and yards long, concrete cattle feed troughs.
With me shooting from a rested sitting or kneeling position to get the pellets to fly close
to the ground. Keeping the pellets traveling low, near the ground, got the wind protection
of the lines of cattle feed troughs.
We had serious wind issues and with the wind, came the dust. The R9, rangefinder,
binoculars and everything else, including me, got a good coat of dust.
(1) The used Beeman R9 proved to be much less hold sensitive than my current and
previous FWB124, and thus the superior hunting pellet rifle. My FWB124 makes a better
casual target and plinker than it does a hunter.
In dusty environments, a Beeman R9, despite the long cocking lever cutout in the stock,
is going to be a better farm pest choice than an Airarms TX200. Although my TX200
Mk3 at 920 fps with CPLites has a power and range advantage over the R9 at 875 fps,
and less hold sensitivity, blowing dust and chaff, bits of hay, etc have easier access to
the TX200 internals than to the R9 internals. Dust and other wind blown stuff should be
kept out of airgun internals.
The 20 or so ground squirrels near the farm workers garden by the house trailers were
too spooky to be comfortable with me within 50 yards.
My thinking is that my full power TX200 Mk3 would let me set up a sniping position a bit
further, at 60 or even 70 yards. I might use it instead of the R9 next hunt here, but only if
the winds are less. The idea is to set up just outside the squirrel spook distance.
What is spook distance? It is what it sounds like. Spot a ground squirrel or other pest.
Walk towards the pest until it becomes spooked. Measure this distance. Repeat several
times. Then be sure to take shots prior to getting inside the measured spook distance,
assuming the pest sees you coming. Otherwise, hunt from a blind. Out of sight. Out of
(2) Be less sensitive to pain and suffering of pests. Because I didn’t want to shoot adult
ground squirrels with dependent babies down in the den nests, I dragged my feet on
squirrel shooting the 200 acre veggie farm for all of April and half of May.
But I did send my friend James, with his own R9, over to the 200 acre strawberry and
veggie farm the next day, after my hunt at the 400 acre hunt.
James did well to get just 18 ground squirrels. Robert Hamilton, California
We were dismayed to find the farmer
having put out 25 or so poisoned bait
stations for the ground squirrels, and in the
process of putting out another 50 poison
bait stations. The farmer told me, “Well, I
just couldn’t wait for you guys.”
That is how it is with the veggie farmers in
my area. Forcing two unsavory choices
upon farm pest hunters like me. Shoot
parent ground squirrels in the early Spring
and be responsible for the dependent
babies dying a slow, miserable, painful
Or don’t shoot them. And the farmers then
put out poison bait and the babies die a
slow, miserable, painful death.
Remember, farm pest control hunting is a
form of hunting. Hunting is a sport with the
pleasure of the challenge but the
responsibility of clean, quick kills. I do have
to look myself in the mirror the next day.
Cruel, slow deaths dehumanize us.
Solution? Shoot the adult squirrels to the
maximum pre- and post-breeding season,
to reduce pest numbers to the point the
farmer does not judge it worthwhile to do
Good hunting to you all!
A few years ago, big
bore airgun hunting
pioneer Eric
Henderson started
production on his Big
Bore Airgun series,
which now numbers
four volumes
comprising mixed
exotic hunts, hunts for
feral hogs, and the two
newest releases
feature ram hunts and
a documentary on
antique big bore

All of these videos are

entertaining and show
airguns and airgun
hunts you’ll not see
anywhere else.

If you view all four

DVDs in the series,
you’ll also see the
evolution of Erics
camera work and
editing skills, starting
off a little rough
moving to very high
production values in
the later volumes.

These DVDs show real hunts;

the good the bad and the ugly!
Getting in Some Exercise
Does a hand pump make sense for you?
One airgun hunter shares his views on the use
of a hand pump for charging his hunting guns

When an airgunner decides Airgunner freedom and self when using a big bore on a
they want to shoot a pre- reliance. The down side? hunt. This gives me a
charged pnuematic, one of Filling a gun manually is number of refills and easily
the decisions they are faced going to give you a cardio gets me through a day
with is how to charge the workout, especially when afield.
gun. The options boil down hunting in a hot climate.
to a high pressure air tank, But when traveling,
or a hand pump….. Both Which is better? Depends especially by air, it is much
offer both advantages and on your needs, for me it is easier to leave the tanks
disadvantages. optimal to have both. I use behind and rely on the hand
my full sized tank when pump. Plus I don’t need to
The plus side is that a pump heading out for a day of worry about finding a place
is less expensive than a tank target shooting or plinking. I to charge when arriving at
set up, and gives the use a small “buddy bottle” my destination, I can go out

Most of my guns
take about 130 -
160 strokes to
charge up to
between 2800 –
3000 PSI. This is
fine for hunting, not
as good if target
shooting where
you’ll have to
recharge several
time during the day!

and start hunting. If I think about it, a

single charge will usually get me through
an entire hunting trip. If I’m going on a trip
where something going wrong with my
gear will be hard to fix and can ruin the
trip, I’ll bring a hand pump as a back up to
my tank, and a springer as a back up to
my PCP.
Camouflage Do's and Don'ts

•Do select environmental
•Do cover hands and face
•Do use background
•Use the wind to

•Move around or fidget
•Ignore hunter orange
The Big Bore Air Rifle…
Not Just For Big Game Hunting

Big bores have been around for a long time.

As far back as the 1400’s. Everything that
I’ve read about the big bores of the past (
and present for that matter) have been
about how powerful they are and how they
took big game. Even the famous Lewis and
Clark air rifle was looked upon as a big bore.
Meaning that he took mostly big game. I
began wonder to myself “ Are the big bore
air rifle’s accurate enough to take small
game?” How about at longer ranges like 80-
100 yards?. Is it even possible to hit a one
foot by one foot target at 100 yards with a
big bore?. After thinking about this, I decided
to see for myself.
Living in Las Vegas for a while, gave me the
opportunity to hunt the vast open desert.
When I say open, I mean wide open. The
kind of openness that makes the sky seem
closer to the ground. With miles upon miles
of desert before and behind you. If you’re
not careful, you can get lost out there and
with the temperature getting up into the 120
degree range, you could get heat stroke in
short order.
I’ve been very lucky and had at my disposal
a Quackenbush Brigand 9mm with a 20”
barrel ( one of his first rifles) and it had a
nice Leopold scope and a beautiful wooden
stock. I used 9mm shocks. They are 90
grains and the Quackenbush Brigand was
pushing them out at close to 850 fps. (Big
Bore Bob rubbed on it a little). The next rifle
I used was the .50 cal Career Dragon. This
one is the old model with the bolt handle.
Stephan Boles It’s a big heavy gun. That can push a 200
grain slug at around 625 fps. Some people
have gotten them up into the 750 range, I
and I was ready to go. I have to first tell you
a little about the area I’m hunting in. It
wasn’t that lucky. The next was a Career consists of seven big rolling hills that stretch
Fire 201. Although it looked plain, but man over 3 miles long. If you wanted to, you
could it shoot. Almost as good as a could go off to one side and “get lost” out
Quackenbush, …almost. They say that there. Just make sure you bring a lot of
beauty is what beauty does, with that, I must water. I have hunted this area for about
say that this rifle is beautiful! Pushing a 90 three months before and the jackrabbits
grain, 9mm shock waves out at close to 900 know to stay far away from me. If I get close
fps. The last one , The Very powerful LA to one, he will bolt and maybe stop about
.505 cal Quackenbush. A beautiful rifle! 70-80 yards out. They will sit there for about
Hands down, but it’s made to hunt, and hunt 5-10 seconds and then they are off again for
it does. It will push a light . 275 grain Maxi another 50 yards are so. If you shoot at
Hunter to 450 fpe!. them and miss, they will run a good 200-300
I knew it would take me a few months to yards before they stop. So make sure you
really put the rifle’s through their paces, so I connect on the first shot.
took my time and started out with the
Career Fire 201. After getting the rifle
zeroed, I headed out to my spot . As I filled All in all, the big bores work
the gun I put 10 shock waves in my pocket
very well on Jackrabbits in
the open spaces of the
Putting a shock wave up the tube and pulling the cover back over the opening, As I made it to
the top of the second hill, out of the corner of my eye I saw a big jackrabbit bolt. True to
form, he ran about 70 yards and stopped. I already had my shooting stick on the ground and
the rifle braced against it with the scope and cross hairs on him. Not knowing the real range
then, I put the cross hairs on the black tips of his ears and slowly pulled the trigger. BOOM! I
could almost see the shock wave hitting home. It hit the Jackrabbit right in the eye! . The
rabbit jumped up about a foot in the air and came down flat, nothing moved . Upon closer
inspection , the scene was gruesome! The shot went in one eye and took half of the rabbit’s
head on the other side. There wasn’t anything remaining on that side. Like I said …
Gruesome!. That day, I took a few more Jackrabbits. Most pretty gruesome, but I did hit one
at 108 yards and he was out like a light.

Next, I took out the Quackenbush 9mm Brigand . Now, this is one smooth rifle! And very
accurate. I took it to the range and after the 3rd shot , I was zeroed. I shot it five more times
and at fifty yards, you could cover the spot with a quarter. It was a very hot day, about 110
degrees and my truck started to over heat. It was hunt or stay with the truck until it cooled
down. Well, you know what I did so, I put a few bullets in my shirt pocket and determined to
get at least one jackrabbit. The area this time was more flat. Less brush and very dry. You
could feel the dust crunch between your teeth. When the ground is flat, you can’t see far out
that well, so you have to be very quiet and walk really slow. After about an hour of this. I
looked up and saw a jackrabbit looking at me from about 30 yards. I said to myself “ What a
lucky break this is” and put the rifle to my shoulder. The rabbit seemed to know what was
going on and bolted upon seeing me raise the rifle. He stopped 45 yards from where he
was . I had the cross hairs on him already. When he stopped, I could just barely make him
out through the brush. I put the cross hairs on the only spot I could see which was his chest.
This rifle had a very light trigger and I just barely touched it and BOOM!. The Jack jumped
and took off running about 5 yards and fell over kicking. Dust was everywhere . When I
picked him up, I could see that a hole the size of a dime had went all the way through him. He
was dead and didn’t even know it! That was the only rabbit I took on that trip. I was glad to
get back to the truck and take my truck to the shop.
Next, I tested the Career Dragon .50 cal. This is a monster of a gun. Everything
seems to happen in slow motion with this rifle, but let me tell you, it just seems that
way. When I took this gun to the range I brought along an old full face motorcycle
and sat it out 50 yards. Once the rifle was zeroed, I put in a 225 grain slug and went
for a shot at the helmet. I aimed just a little bit above the helmet, maybe 3” and pulled
the trigger. I could see the slug on it’s way to the helmet. The helmet went flying
about a foot off the ground and about 10 feet down range. When I got to it, there was
a clean hole all the way through it on both sides. I had my son with me and it was
getting late so we went for a two hour hunt on my “ hunting grounds”.
It was a hot day and in the evening , jackrabbits love to come out and eat and play
around after being in the shade all day. My son took a nice rabbit with his Beeman
S1. We were on our way back to the truck when my son said “Dad, look!” pointing to
a hill about 50 yards away. It was a large jackrabbit with ears in the air. I said “ go for
it son” he tried but couldn’t quite make it. I put the cross hairs on the top of the
jacks’ head and pulled the trigger. I could see the 200 grain bullet take flight, on it’s
way to “lay low” ( sorry Ron) the big jack .Upon impact,. The jack almost exploded !
It was to gruesome for pictures. I even kept my son back from seeing it too.
The “ Big Daddy” of them all, the Quackenbush LA 505. This rifle is all business,
nothing personal . When you load up one of those 275 grain Maxi Hunters. You “pity
the fool” that gets hit by one of them. I had a nice scope on it and was zeroed in less
than 10 minutes. Now, this rifle has some recoil to it . So, I had to grip the gun a little
tighter. This time, I went to the left of my standard seven hills, found a nice place
that had water coming out of the rocks. As I looked around, I saw a nice size
jackrabbit taking a drink . He saw me and froze. He was 67 yards away. For some
reason I was shaking. I couldn’t keep the cross hairs on him. I took a wild shot and
missed. but the jack didn’t move. I bent my head down and loaded another Maxi
Hunter and looked up just knowing that he was gone, but, he was still there. This
time, I was calm and the cross hairs were steady and I pulled the slowest trigger in
could muster. The big gun gave a loud BOOM and the sound of the bullet hitting the
jack sounded like hitting wet paper. The jack just fell in the water dead. Looking at
him, there was a hole the size of a half dollar all the way through him. On the way
back, the wind picked up a bit but I was still able to take another one at 45 yards.
That big slug bucked the wind very well. You know, the big bores are not that much
different from .22 cal pellet gun when it come to accuracy and you have a lot more
power behind that bullet too.
All in all, the big bores work very well on Jackrabbits in the open spaces of the
desert. I’m sure you will find that yours will do the same. So, take those big bores out
of the closet or in the back of the safe and take them rabbit hunting. You will not
forget it anytime soon.
Tree Squirrels
Using Spring Piston Air-rifles
Jim Chapman
Spring Piston Squirrel Rifles
Spring-air guns are probably the most
familiar of the adult air rifles and have been
around for many years. They generate
power using a piston propelled by a spring
under compression. Cocking the rifle, using
either a break barrel, side lever, or
underlever cocking mechanism, causes a
piston to be drawn back in a cylinder
drawing air into the cylinder and
compressing a coil spring. Pulling the trigger
releases the piston, causing the spring to
move forward and move a large volume of
air through a hole into the barrel, propelling
the pellet down the barrel.
There are several manufacturers of high
quality spring piston air rifles; European
rifles are the benchmark of excellence for
these guns with companies such as
Theoben, Webely, BSA, Weilrauch, RWS,
and Diana producing some very powerful
and finely crafted hunting guns. More
recently the Chinese manufacturers Xifeng,
BAM, and other factories in the Peoples
Republic have started to turn out fairly high
quality copies of many of the most respected
of the European designs. They tend to copy
older versions and do not pay the attention
to detail that the Europeans do, however the
quality and performance is quite acceptable
and the selling price substantially lower than Before taking a new rifle to the squirrel woods,
the originals. There are many reputable you’ll need to cycle a few hundred shots
importers selling these guns online; through it, both to familiarize yourself with the
Compassco, Fun Supply, and Best Airguns gun and because springers need a thorough
to name just a few that I’ve dealt with break-in before they shoot at their . Before you
personally. start shooting a new spring piston rifle check to
make sure the screws attaching the action to
the rifle are tight, and
bestcheck at regular intervals as they can the open wearing camouflage this requires
vibrate loose resulting in a marked too many “big” movements. In this case I’ll
degradation of accuracy. cock and load the gun, but discharge it
Spring air guns generally have fairly heavy within an hour and re-cock if necessary.
recoil that originates from the movement of Perhaps I’m being over cautious but none of
the piston. Some people say that springers my guns has failed me yet.
are hard to shoot accurately because of this, On the plus side, these guns are self
and in truth they often are more difficult than contained requiring no filling equipment.
PCP or CO2 guns, but with the right hold They are simple and straight forward to use,
and some practice they produce excellent and can be purchase in many sporting good
results. Another issue related to the recoil stores (and even some discount chains)
these guns generate is that they are very across the country. They are less expensive
rough on scopes. Be sure whatever you put than most PCPs, and no peripheral
on top of a springer is purpose designed for equipment needs to be purchased. Speaking
the guns or it will be shaken apart before of cost, I should mention here that even a
you ever get your first squirrel in the bag. mid quality air rifle generally cost more than
The springers I use for squirrel hunting are a production .22 rimfire – and this along with
the Beeman C1 in .177, Beeman R1 in .177, the performance specifications of these guns
an RWS Model 34 and Model 36 (both should dissuade any newbie from thinking
in .22), and a Chinese manufactured Xifeng that they are buying a toy!
B-19 in .22. All of these rifles are powerful
and accurate and have proven effective in
the field for me. As a matter of fact the C1 is
my all time favorite springer and my fall back
gun – it is deadly accurate and puts even a
big fox squirrel down at 40 yards with
authority. For me the most negative aspect
of springers is that the most powerful ones
tend to be very big and heavy, which aren’t
the best characteristics when creeping
through the dense woods all day.
One other downside which warrants mention
is that spring piston guns cannot be left
cocked for a long period, as doing so will
cause damage to the spring and can result
in significantly reduced velocity, and
therefore power, being delivered on target.
When hunting from a hide I’ll wait to cock
the rifle until needed, but when sitting out in
Hunting Regulations
This column will look at the airgun hunting laws in
various jurisdictions across the country

There is a patch work of regulations pertaining to the use of airguns for hunting across the
country. In some states such as California and Arizona, airgun regulations are specifically
identified with clear statements on how and when they can be used. Indiana states that
squirrels may be taken by any method during the season, leaving the door open for airgunners
to use their tool of choice. Many other states allow these guns to be used, but are not as clear
in the wording of their regulations, leaving interpretation open to local enforcement officers.
There are a couple of states that are clear in spelling out that airguns can not be used for
hunting of any kind, luckily these misinformed jurisdictions are in the minority. Most states
will allow pest species to be taken by any means, including airguns. Let’s take a look at a couple
of my favorite airgun hunting destinations, California and Texas.
California: Allows the use of gas powered
guns for the taking of small game
animals, including rabbit, squirrel, quail,
and turkey. It is stipulated that when
hunting turkey the caliber of the airgun
must be .20 caliber or larger. Non game
species such as sparrows, pigeons,
starlings, ground squirrels, coyote and
jackrabbit may also be taken with
airguns. California is my favorite
airgunning state, because in addition to
ir gun the intelligent regulation
a t
an hun pertaining to airguns, there are literally
h o s
wit ou t rearm
thousands upon thousands of acres of public land
to hunt with them.
ting ow y fi as a
Hu n
all here but a re Texas: Does not allow the taking of any game
ma s w d, laws animal with airguns, but does allow the taking of
a u s e
are t be game
exotics. Therefore you can take rabbit, ground
squirrels, prairie dog, coyote, bobcat, feral hogs,
n ’ e
ca th rams, and other non-indigenous species. You
rule same ! cannot take squirrel as they are a game animal in
most of the state, though in certain areas they
t h e have been delisted and can therefore be taken
with air power. Texas is my destination spot for
big game airgun hunting.
The best advice that I can give you is to get a hunting license, read the regulations, know the
regulations, and live the regulations. Call the enforcement branch of your fish and game
department (or whatever they are called in your neck of the woods), and ask for clarification.
If you can get this information in written form, either a letter or a print out of an email, it’s
not a bad idea to keep this on hand when you head out to the woods!
A Classic Hunting Springer
When I started hunting with high powered air rifles back in the The reason that the
eighties, it pretty much meant going to a springer. Even today, springer remains a viable
with the plethora of moderately priced precharged pneumatic hunting gun is that they are
airguns to choose from, there are still attributes of springers for fully self contained, reliable,
which I think most serious airgun hunters will want to keep at powerful, and while not
least one in their hunting batteries. Even though I mostly use usually as accurate as a
PCPs these days, I still like to shoot my springers. There is one PCP, can still offer very
gun in particular that I continue to spend a lot of time afield with good accuracy. The reason
every season … my Beeman C1 Carbine. I don’t like springers as
much is; that because they
are self contained with the
charging mechanisms
integral to the gun they
tend to be quite large. This
is especially true of the
magnums. My first
magnum air rifle was a
Beeman R1 in .177; this is
a great weapon in its own
right being very powerful
and very accurate. I spent
a lot of time in the high
desert hunting jackrabbits
with this gun, often hiking
several miles in the course
of the day. Even with a
good sling, you knew this
gun was present … It was
a heavy load!

Then one day I was looking at the Beeman catalog and noticed the C1. It was advertised as
being powerful, accurate, compact and light; all of which called out for further consideration. I
have to say that the gun did not resonate on an aesthetics note at first; the stock looked like it
came off of a shotgun or a Winchester lever action carbine rather than the finely crafted, pistol
gripped stock that my R1 wore. But it did look compact, so opting for function over form I
ordered my first C1 .177. When the box was delivered to my house, I quickly cleaned the gun,
mounted the scope, sighted in and fired a couple tins of pellets through it before loading up and
taking off for a weekend camping/hunting trip in the Mojave. By the time I’d returned home I
was in love with this gun, not just the performance but the initial doubts I’d had about the
aesthetic qualities of the gun had been replaced by an admiration for the purposeful nature of
the design.
Over the last twenty years I have used
many airguns from almost every
manufacturer, for almost every type of
airgun game under almost every
conceivable condition. I have twenty or
thirty in my gun room right now, and
new ones come and go at a constant
flow rate. Several guns which were my
favorite at a given point in time lost
favor, and were traded or sold, but I’ve
had that original C1 for a couple
decades now. And as I move through
this brief article I’m going to explain
why this gun will never leave my
collection, I’m sure one of the talented
airgun smiths will be called on to work
his magic at some point, but that will Robert Beeman told me that this
be the only time it’ll be away without gun was specifically designed to
meet the needs of the airgun
In an email conversation with Robert Beeman a Most people know that Beeman imports the
few years ago he told me that when he high quality airguns from Europe that are
designed this gun, it was specifically with the built by Weilrauch, Theoben, and Webley (to
airgun hunter in mind. He wanted a gun that name a few), but what they may not realize
delivered adequate power and accuracy, could is that in the days when Dr. Beeman owned
be brought quickly to shoulder, and was light the company he had a very active hand in
enough to be carried around all day long. Even the concept and design stage of the guns …
when the idea was first presented, it meet with far more than simply stamping his name on
some resistance due to the unique design … it the barrel! As a matter of fact, the Beeman
just wasn’t what most airgunners thought of C1 Carbine was so labeled even when it
when they contemplated a Beeman designed, was sold by Webley Scott in the UK. Mine is
quality airgun. But Dr. Beeman knew what was marked with the San Rafael stamp, which
required by the active hunter, and pushed gives it a special historical perspective within
ahead with production of his design anyway. my collection.

I feel that I am in a well situated position to comment on whether Beeman achieved his goal; going
back through my hunting logs I can say that I’ve taken literally hundreds of rabbits, ground
squirrels, pigeons and starlings with this gun. Besides the original you’ll see pictured throughout
this article, I have owned three others and carried this gun hundreds of miles in deserts,
mountains, swamps, and plains. I have shot it in boiling hot sunshine in the middle of the Mojave
and in the freezing cold Utah Mountains up to my tail in snow. I’ve used it to pop the squirrels
raiding my bird feeders, and to supply rabbit for the pot in deer camp. And in the rest of this article
I’m going to give you some empirical data from the bench as well as anecdotal observation from
the field to support my position that the Beeman C1 is one of (for me THE) best hunting springers
ever built.
The Beeman C1 Carbine was built for Beeman, to his specification, by Webley & Scott of the
United Kingdom with a production run from the mid eighties into the early nineties. The gun was
originally chambered in .177 and .22, though I once saw one advertised in .20. I’m not sure if this
gun was a production gun, the add a typo, or a modified example; but if I see one again I’m buying
it as I think it would be the perfect caliber for this handy little carbine. The barrel length is 14” and
the overall length is 38 ½” with a weight of around 6 pounds. The trigger is single staged with a pull
of about 4 lbs on my gun, and while I would not extol the triggers virtues, it is well engineered and
functional. The stock is cut from a plain piece of beech with a walnut stain, and is the strikingly
different component of this carbines design. There is no pistol grip, with the straight lines running
from the butt to the fore grip being reminiscent of a shotgun. Some of my shooting mates in the
past have loved the feel of the gun and some have not. But for me, it feels better than any air rifle I
have ever shot …. Especially when shooting offhand. This rifle digests several pellets well, with
Dynamite Nobel’s Superdomes and Exact Diablos being its favored ammunition. These pellets are
projected at velocities in the mid eight hundred feet per second range, producing clover leaf groups
at 25 yards. The cocking effort is fairly light even with the short barrel, but the universal brake I
placed on my gun provides a convenient cocking handle making it easier still. The safety is
conveniently positioned on the rear right side of the barrel, where it can be easily flicked on or off
with the thumb of the trigger hand. I do like the fact that unlike the R1, the safety is not
automatically deployed when the gun is cocked. I don’t like this set up on a hunting gun, as I don’t
want to have to worry about the safety on a quick follow-up shot.
I brought my C1 out on a bright sunny day to see what it would
do from the bench. I should mention that a few years ago I had
the gun tuned, which resulted not only in smoothing out the
action (which wasn’t bad to start) but generating an additional
20-30 fps. I’ve been shooting this rifle in the field for so many
years that I didn’t feel bench testing was really something I
needed to do, however I knew that if I didn’t have some
empirical data the technophiles reading this little love letter to
the C1 would come after me! Shooting this rifle with Exact
Diablos from a supported position at thirty yards, I was able to
consistently place five shot groups into a 3/4” with the
occasional group clover leafing the target. This gun can
definitely out-shoot me in the field, and while I’m not in any
way a champion marksman, I am not a bad shot either. The
C1 does everything I want from a hunting rifle. The gun shoots
Exacts, Superdomes, and CPs well, producing average
velocities of 844 fps with the 10.3 grain Exacts, generating
around 16 fpe.
As Dr. Beeman related; this gun was designed to be a hunter,
and that is where it shines. The light weight and compact size
make the gun a pleasure to carry all day long. The C1 is quick
to bring into action from any shooting position, and points well.
As a matter of fact this rifle fits me better than any other rifle,
air arm or fire arm, in my rather large and constantly growing
(to my wife’s chagrin) collection.
I have found the accuracy of this rifle under hunting conditions
to be very good, allowing me to pick off starlings at forty yards
all day long. And the gun produces the power to take larger
game at this range as well; I’ve shot innumerable jackrabbits
with my C1 at the same range with very decisive kills. I
normally take headshots, but even when forced to take a chest
shot the killing power is very good.
Dr. Beeman wrote on his website that the Beeman C1 Carbine
has gained an almost cult following amongst knowledgeable
airgun hunters. The fact is that there is no perfect rifle, and as
the title of “The Best” hunting springer is a very subjective one
indeed, there can be no correct answer. However, I can say
that if (heaven forbid) I had to give up all but one of my spring
piston air rifles, I’d still be heading out with my C1 for a
longtime to come. In that same thread of dialog mentioned
earlier, Dr. Beeman wrote to me that he was saddened to see
the company which bears his name decide to cease
production of this great little carbine. It seems that after many
years production, some people still just didn’t get it …. I’m glad
I found out about the C1, though I wish I hadn’t let the other
three slip through my hands!
Five Great Hunts
That won’t break the bank
Jackrabbits in Nevada
Hunters that can get out to the Squirrels in the Midwest
vast tracts of Mojave desert in In most Midwestern and
Nevada, will find acre upon acre Southern States there are many
of Blacktail Jackrabbit terrain. wildlife areas and National
Jackrabbits have no seasons, Forest that permit hunting. Most
no limits, and importantly can are used for deer and turkey
be taken with airguns. This is hunting with the squirrels left
one of my favorite hunts, add an untouched. Long seasons, high
extra day or two on you next trip populations and generous bag
to Vegas, and drive up north limits add up to a lot of fun. An
until you see a patch of BLM accurate high powered air rifle,
land you like …. And go for it! camouflage clothing, and a call
your set for the day. Better bring
Hogs in Texas! all your woodcraft along, these
OK, you’ll have to pay here. But aren’t the park fed bushytails
if you set up a hunt with Eric you see raiding the bird feeder!
Hendersons Big Bore
Adventures it’ll cost you a
couple hundred buck all up to Nutria in Louisiana
hunt feral pigs in Texas. He can Nutria escaped from fur
even supply the monster airgun breeders and have spread their
you’ll need to bring home the way through the coastal
bacon. waterways. Early morning and
dusk is a good time to shoot
Coastal Ground Squirrels in these megarats. There are
California many wildlife management
There are big tracks of BLM and areas and private properties
National Forest land along the that you can find to shoot over,
California coastal range that without too much effort. Check
allow hunting. Sometimes these the season and regs where
animals are found individual or you’ll be hunting though. It’s a
in small groups, other times in bit ironic that these pesky
small towns. They offer a lot of rodents have a bounty and a
shooting and a lot of challenge. season simultaneously!
Try Padre national Forest, San
Bernardino National Forest, or
the high desert BLM tracts.
Phil is the ultimate Urban Hunter chasing down these
monster Philly rats with his Air Arms S400 ERB in .22
caliber. He finds the Beeman Kodiak heavy 21 grain

Steve Vines Diana/RWS Model 48 is a very

dependable, no-nonsense, hard hitting air rifle. in 22
caliber. Morgan adjustable pad, Paul Watts shroud, just
point & shoot.

This BSA Techstar belongs to Jack Ludlam. He says

“it’s been a great gun for small and large game, it has
accuracy and power all in one package”
18" barreled Stealth with cast aluminum grip and MILSPEC PES moderator (
legal here!) Parker Hale bi-pod. Shot with 18 GR EXT pellets. Both Pheasant
and Rabbits where prepared for cooking within an hour of shooting and greatly

Legal Quarry in UK

A customized 2240 CO2 pistol with a detachable

shoulder stock. You can do a lot with this
inexpensive platform.

Here is a pic of some squirrels my father-in-law

(Jimmy) and I got hunting in Indiana last years
season. The rifles are a QB78 22cal HW barrel with
bulk extension I built just for hunting small game and
Airwaves continued from last page

One afternoon, Eric and I had a few moments of downtime from hunting bigger game, and Eric
decided to do some filming and asked me to do the shooting. Looking at the gun rack, I noticed
that Jim had left his Prairie Falcon behind while he was out on a stand waiting on a warthog or
bushbuck. So I grabbed up the Falcon and a pack of pellets, and we made a beeline for the
sheep pens. Approaching cautiously, we sat down where we had a good view, and I did some
estimating of ranges with the scope, and settled in for some pest shooting. Eric was behind me
and was ready with his camera when the first bird came flapping in, landing in an abandoned
sheep pen to peck at the left-over food. I eased up the Prairie Falcon, and when Eric said he
was ready to film, I eased off the safety and carefully lined up the shot. It was a great setup,
with the light just right, the pigeon only 20 yards away……everything was just right.
Placing my finger carefully on the trigger, I began taking up the tension, waiting for the Falcon
to send its deadly load hurtling towards the unsuspecting pigeon. And sure enough, the
expected discharge came with the quiet whisper of a modded airgun……and nothing happened!
The pigeon just kept pecking away…..I had missed! No way, this couldn’t be! I just couldn’t
have missed this close……and on film!
I quickly cocked the gun again and repeated the procedure…..with the same results! Looking
down, I muttered under my breath something that Eric didn’t quite hear, so he said “What did
you say?”
And to my everlasting chagrin, I had to admit, on film, that I had forgotten to load the multi-shot
magazine. As Forest Gump says…..stupid is as stupid does! My only hope is that Eric
somehow erased that particular bit of filming…..but somehow, I think Eric is slowly, but surely,
compiling an airgun bloopers edition of his video series that will one day star yours truly in one
of the dumbest mistakes that a hunter can make…..forgetting to load his gun!
At the end of some of my favorite outdoor magazines, there always seems to be a humorous or
touching story about hunting….perhaps a confession of a faux pas that really amuses the
reader, or maybe a story that tugs at the heart strings of those of us who enjoy the outdoors so
So in the spirit of such articles, I will close out this first publication of the online Airgun Hunting
magazine with a confession of sorts. It is slightly embarrassing, but it is our ability to laugh at
ourselves that keeps us humble, and I continuously find myself inadvertently keeping myself
Last year, during the summer of 2006, I was able to accompany Jim Chapman and Eric
Henderson on a trip to South Africa for an airgun safari. We had an absolutely wonderful time
hunting with our bigbore airguns and a few smaller bores as well. On the grounds of Hounslow
Safaris, we pursued springbok, duiker, kudu, vervet monkeys…..several species that made
hunting there very special. But from time to time, we had an opportunity to shoot pigeons and
dove around the sheep pens as they came in to peck at the discarded food left over by the
livestock. Cont’d on preceding page
Next Edition
August 2007

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